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A photo of a volcano on Io is on the verge of an eruption, scientists report analyzing observations of the inner moon of Jupiter dating back decades

The 126-mile-wide volcano Loki on Jupiter & # 39; s moon Io is ready to erupt, scientists claim

  • Most volcanic eruptions are impossible to predict because they are so complex
  • Loki Patera from Io, however, seems to follow a relatively routine schedule
  • Researchers discovered that it erupted around 540 days in the 1990s
  • The schedule now appears to have increased to around 475 days instead
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A volcano on Io is about to erupt, report scientists who have analyzed observations of Jupiter & # 39; s inner moon that goes back decades.

Although it is hard to predict when most volcanoes will erupt, Io & # 39; s & # 39; Loki Patera & # 39; – named after the Norwegian god – usually a relatively regular timetable.

Loki, which is approximately 126 miles (203 kilometers) wide, has a lava lake in the center that can be seen by telescopes on Earth and that periodically falls during eruptions.

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A photo of a volcano on Io is on the verge of an eruption, scientists report analyzing observations of the inner moon of Jupiter dating back decades

A photo of a volcano on Io is on the verge of an eruption, scientists report analyzing observations of the inner moon of Jupiter dating back decades

WHAT IS LOKI PATERA?

Loki Patera is the largest volcano on the inner moon of Jupiter, Io.

The volcano is so bright when viewed with infrared light that it can be detected by telescopes on the earth.

It is approximately 126 miles (203 km) wide, with a lava lake in the middle.

In 2002, researchers revealed that Loki erupted relatively regularly.

In the 1990s this was approximately every 540 days – but this has now increased to a cycle of approximately 475 days.

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& # 39; Loki is the largest and most powerful volcano on Io, so bright in the infrared that we can detect it using telescopes on the earth, & # 39; said Julie Rathbun, a researcher at the Planetary Science Institute in Tuscon, Arizona.

Based on more than two decades of such observations, researchers have been able to track Loki & # 39; s eruptions – events that make the volcano temporarily clearer.

In 2002, Dr. Rathbun and colleagues & # 39; s revealed that the volcano largely followed a relatively regular schedule – around 540 days in the 1990s.

However, this schedule seems to have been accelerated, with Loki now instead venting magma every 475 days.

& # 39; If this behavior remains the same, Loki should erupt in September 2019, & # 39; said Dr. Rathbun.

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The researchers had correctly predicted the last eruption of the volcano, which took place in May 2018.

They explain that volcanoes are usually so difficult to predict because of their complexity.

Many factors influence volcanic eruptions, including the type and condition of the rocks around the volcano, as well as the composition of the magma, the feed rate and the level of internal gases.

Although it is difficult to predict when most volcanoes will erupt, Loki Patera usually follows a relatively regular schedule. Pictured: the inner moon of Jupiter, Io, where Loki is found

Although it is difficult to predict when most volcanoes will erupt, Loki Patera usually follows a relatively regular schedule. Pictured: the inner moon of Jupiter, Io, where Loki is found

Although it is difficult to predict when most volcanoes will erupt, Loki Patera usually follows a relatively regular schedule. Pictured: the inner moon of Jupiter, Io, where Loki is found

Loki, which is approximately 126 miles (203 kilometers) wide, has a lava lake in the center that can be seen by telescopes on Earth and that periodically falls during eruptions. Pictured, a cross section of the interior of Io
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Loki, which is approximately 126 miles (203 kilometers) wide, has a lava lake in the center that can be seen by telescopes on Earth and that periodically falls during eruptions. Pictured, a cross section of the interior of Io

Loki, which is approximately 126 miles (203 kilometers) wide, has a lava lake in the center that can be seen by telescopes on Earth and that periodically falls during eruptions. Pictured, a cross section of the interior of Io

& # 39; We think that Loki can be predictable because it is so large & # 39 ;, said Dr. Rathbun.

& # 39; Because of its size, basic physics is likely to dominate when it erupts, so the minor complications that affect smaller volcanoes are unlikely to have a major impact on Loki. & # 39;

& # 39; You have to be careful though, because Loki is named after a deceiver and it is not known that the volcano behaves. & # 39;

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& # 39; In the early 2000s, after the 540-day pattern was detected, the behavior of Loki changed and did not show periodic behavior until about 2013. & # 39;

Dr. Rathbun and colleagues will keep a close eye on the volcano to see if it erupts as predicted.

The full findings of the study were presented in one poster on September 17 in the annual meeting of the planetary sciences division of the American Astronomical Society, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

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