CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Volcanic Depression and Shield Volcano, Io

Volcanic Depression and Shield Volcano, Io
PIA 03532

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This image taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft on Oct. 16, 2001, near the equator of Jupiter's moon Io shows the contrast in volcanism styles found on Io.

The central feature is a large patera, or volcanic depression, almost 100 kilometers (60 miles) long. It may have formed after eruptions of lava emptied a subsurface magma chamber and left an empty space into which the crust collapsed. Evidence of lava flows associated with this patera, however, is difficult to find. Either the flows have been buried, or perhaps they never erupted and simply drained back deep into the crust.

On the right of the image is a small shield volcano, similar to volcanoes in Hawaii. It is rare for lavas on Io to be thick enough to pile up into shields around vents. They usually run out in thin, long flows instead. This shield abuts some very pale lava flows that emerged from a small vent to the west. These flows could be made of sulfur, like flows at Io's Emakong Patera. The vent is also surrounded by dark, diffuse material, which may be the result of lava erupted in an explosive, gas-rich eruption, similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington.

North is to the top of the image and the illumination is from the right. The image has a resolution of 330 meters (1,080 feet) per picture element and is 340 (211 miles) kilometers across.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional information about Galileo and its discoveries is available on the Galileo mission home page at Background information and educational context for the images can be found at

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona