CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Stereo Image of Zal Patera and Neighboring Mountain, Io

Stereo Image of Zal Patera and Neighboring Mountain, Io
PIA 02553

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This stereo image of Jupiter's moon Io shows the topography of a region on Io that includes the Zal Patera feature and a mountain or plateau that borders it to the west. It was created by combining two different views taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft on November 25, 1999 (shown in red) and February 22, 2000 (shown in blue).

A mountain 120 kilometers (75 miles) wide rises to the west of the patera, a dark volcanic depression. By measuring the shadow, scientists were able to determine that the eastern margin of this mountain is about 1.5 kilometers (5000 feet) high. To the west and northwest, the mountain's margins are scalloped, which may indicate that a process called sapping is eroding them. Sapping occurs when fluid escapes from the base of a cliff, causing the material above it to collapse. Along the northwestern margin, the rough material at the base of the cliff maybe debris left over from the sapping process. Dark lava flows can be seen coming from a fissure to the east of the mountain.

Galileo scientists are in the process of generating topographic maps from these images. Such maps will reveal the heights and slopes of different landforms in this region, which will help scientists determine the strength and other properties of Io's surface materials. They will also be useful in understanding the processes of uplift and erosion on Io.

The picture is centered at 42.3 degrees north latitude and 76.9 degrees west longitude. North is to the top of the picture. The observations used to make the stereo image were made at ranges of 26,000 and 33,500 kilometers (16,200 and 20,900 miles) from Io. The resolution of the stereo image is about 335 meters (370 yards) per picture element.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at Background information and educational context for the images can be found at

Image Credit: NASA/JPL