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A primer on sulfur for the planetary geologistSulfur has been proposed as the dominant composition for the volcanic material on Io. Sulfur is a complex element which forms many intramolecular and intermolecular allotropes exhibiting a variety of physical properties. Cyclo-S8 sulfur is the most abundant and stable molecular form. The important molecular species within liquid sulfur change in concentration with temperature. Concentrations of the allotropes control the physical properties of the melt. Discontinuities in density, viscosity, and thermal properties reflect the polymerization process within liquid sulfur. Variations in the melting point are related to autodissociation of the liquid. Many solids forms of sulfur have been identified but only orthorhombic alpha and monoclinic beta sulfur, both composed of cyclo-S8 sulfur, are stable under terrestrial conditions. Physical properties of solid sulfur are dependent on the allotrope and, in some cases, the thermal history. Three natural terrestrial sulfur flows are described: (1) Siretoko-Iosan, Japan; (2) Volcan Azufre, Galapagos Islands; and (3) Mauna Loa, Hawaii. All of the flows are associated with fumarolic areas and are considered to have formed by the melting and mobilization of sulfur deposits. Surface textures of the flows indicate a behavior of molten sulfur similar to that of silicate lava. Channels, rivulets, and lobate edges were described for the flows. The solidification of man-made sulfur flows formed as part of the Frasch mining process by which sulfur is removed from the subsurface in a liquid state is described.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Theilig, E.
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 4, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1982
Publication Information
Publisher: NASA
Subject Category
Inorganic And Physical Chemistry
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.26:3594
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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