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Sulfur volcanoes on Io?The unusual rheological properties of sulfur are discussed in order to determine the distinctive volcanic flow morphologies which indicate the presence of sulfur volcanoes on the Saturnian satellite Io. An analysis of high resolution Voyager imagery reveals three features which are considered to be possible sulfur volcanoes: Atar Patera, Daedalus Patera, and Kibero Patera. All three features are distinguished by circular-to-oval central masses surrounded by irregular widespread flows. The central zones of the features are interpreted to be domes formed of high temperature sulfur. To confirm the interpretations of the satellite data, molten sulfur was extruded in the laboratory at a temperature of 210 C on a flat surface sloping 0.5 deg to the left. At this temperature, the sulfur formed a viscous domelike mass over the event. As parts of the mass cooled to 170 C the viscosity decreased to a runny stage, forming breakout flows. It is concluded that a case can be made for sulfur volcanoes on Io sufficient to warrant further study, and it is recommended that the upcoming Galileo mission examine these phenomena.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Greeley, R.
(Cambridge University Cambridge, England; Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States)
Fink, J. H.
(Arizona State University Tempe, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1984
Publication Information
Publication: Astronomy Express
Volume: 1
ISSN: 0265-5365
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
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