Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The cycles driving Io’s tectonics

December 1, 2022

Io is famous for its active volcanoes, but its vigorous tectonics, which are unlike Earth’s plate tectonics, are no less remarkable. The nature of Io’s thick, cold, brittle lithosphere has been revealed through decades of investigations. The dynamics of this system is most easily explained by considering three cycles: magmatic, tectonic, and sulfurous. The magmatic cycle transports heat by a “heat pipe” process that may have operated during the earliest histories of many of the rocky bodies in the Solar System. The subsidence of the erupted lavas drives mountain uplift in the tectonic cycle. Sulfurous fluids could have a significant impact on the movement of both heat and rock.

Publication Year 2022
Title The cycles driving Io’s tectonics
DOI 10.2138/gselements.18.6.393
Authors Laszlo P. Kestay, Windy L Jaeger, Jani Radebaugh
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Elements
Index ID 70244116
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center