Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

From Jupiter’s Moon, Io, come ideas about what Earth may have looked like as a newborn planet

22.03.2004


Lava lakes could be Ionian versions of Earth’s mid-ocean ridges


region on Jupiter’s moon Io may provide clues to what Earth looked like as a ’newborn’ planet, say researchers from UB and JPL (Photo: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech).



Investigations into lava lakes on the surface of Io, the intensely volcanic moon that orbits Jupiter, may provide clues to what Earth looked like in its earliest phases, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"When I look at the data, it becomes startlingly suggestive to me that this may be a window onto the primitive history of Earth," said Tracy K. P. Gregg, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

"When we look at Io, we may be seeing what Earth looked like when it was in its earliest stages, akin to what a newborn baby looks like in the first few seconds following birth," she added.



Gregg and Rosaly M. Lopes, Ph.D., research scientist at JPL, gave a presentation about Io’s volcano, Loki, on Tuesday (March 16, 2004) at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston.

Scientists have been interested in Loki, considered the most powerful volcano in the solar system, because of debate over whether or not it is an active lava lake, where molten lava is in constant contact with a large reservoir of magma stored in the planet’s crust.

Using models developed to investigate temperature changes on active lava lakes on Earth, Gregg and Lopes have concluded that Loki behaves quite differently from terrestrial lava lakes.

Gregg suggests that Loki and other lava lakes on Io might be more similar volcanologically to fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges on Earth, like the Southern East Pacific Rise.

According to Gregg, plate tectonics on Earth make these features long -- as in thousands of kilometers -- and narrow -- as in less than 10 kilometers wide. Io, on the other hand, has no plate tectonics and a similar release of heat and magma would be circular, like Loki.

"These lava lakes could be an Ionian version of mid-ocean ridges," functioning the way these ridges do on Earth, spilling huge amounts of lava on its surface, thus generating new crust, she said.

During the most intense periods of its eruption cycle, Gregg said, Loki churns out about 1,000 square meters of lava -- about the size of a soccer field -- per second.

"All planets start out hot and spend their ’lifetimes’ trying to get cold," explained Gregg.

This effort by planets to "chill," she explained, is an attempt to attain a similar temperature to that of outer space, which is 4 Kelvin, or minus 269 degrees Celsius.

On Earth, she explained, the shifting of the planet’s tectonic plates, which focus the eruption of volcanoes at their boundaries, function to cool down the planet’s surface.

Io never developed plate tectonics because it is stuck in an incessant orbit between Jupiter and Europa, another of the Jovian planet’s moons.

"Io just never grew up," she said, "since it’s continually being pushed around by Jupiter and Europa."

But, she added, Earth only developed plate tectonics after it had been in existence for perhaps 200 to 500 million years.

Gregg and Lopes analyzed data obtained by the Galileo spacecraft, which orbited Jupiter for 14 years, finally disintegrating in Jupiter’s atmosphere last fall.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Ellen Goldbaum | University at Buffalo
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=66290009

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons
27.06.2017 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>