ALMA Provides New Data: Jupiter’s Moon Io Under Investigation

ALMA new data volcano

ALMA, also known as The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, has provided essential new data. For the first time, scientists witnessed the direct effect of volcanic activity on one of Jupiter’s moons, Io.

Io is considered now one of the most volcanically active moons in our Solar System. According to previous research, the moon has over 400 active volcanoes.

But, the moon’s atmosphere always has puzzled scientists’ research. How significant is the new batch of data from ALMA? Also, how well can scientists understand Jupiter’s peculiar moon?

Here is what you need to know.

ALMA’s Incredible New Data Results

A team of scientists utilized ALMA to capture Jupiter’s moon, Io, right when it passed in and out of Jupiter’s shadow (eclipse). They succeeded in detecting sulfur dioxide plumes and sulfur monoxide rises from the moon’s volcanoes. 

According to the images, the active volcanoes directly generate up to 30-50 % of Io’s atmosphere. There’s also a third gas present, potassium chloride. Statia Luszcz-Cook from Columbia University, New York, released a statement. He said:

“[…]This is strong evidence that the magma reservoirs are different under different volcanoes.”

Io’s Strange Atmosphere Under Investigation

Jupiter’s moon is volcanically active because there’s a process dubbed tidal heating occurring. The moon orbits Jupiter in an odd orbit, not a circular one, similar to our Moon. 

The gravitational pull of Jupiter’s other moons, the great Ganymede and Europa, triggers some vast amounts of internal heat and friction. Such a thing gives rise to volcanoes like the Loki Patera, which crosses over 200 kilometers.

But, as straight as those particularities could be, Io’s atmosphere remains a big unknown, especially its lower atmosphere. Scientists really hope that the next ALMA batch of data will provide more insights into Io’s peculiar atmosphere. 

Of course, they will need advanced techniques to apply to measure and detect every stage and movement. 

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