Deep Magma Ocean Fuels Hundreds of Volcanoes on Jupiter Moon
Io's molten layer may be hot slush, scientists say.
Only slightly larger than Earth's moon, Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. The discovery solves a long-standing debate over how much of the moon's insides must be molten to feed the ongoing eruptions.
"At any time, Io has 400 [and] maybe more active volcanoes," said study leader Krishan Khurana, a planetary physicist at the University of California, Los Angles.
"They are very powerful—they can shoot plumes out into space to a height of about 300 miles [500 kilometers]." Finding an extensive magma ocean means that "now we know why there are so many, and where the lava comes from."