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Loki, Io: a truly periodic volcano?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date28/05/2002
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Original languageEnglish


Loki is the most powerful volcano in the Solar System. It has been observed to be in continuous though variable activity since 1979. Synthesis of more than a decade of groundbased data suggests that Loki eruptions are cyclic, with a 540 day period. Application of a simple lava cooling model to temperatures in Loki Patera, and eruption start and end times, implies that brightenings are due to a resurfacing wave propagating across the patera. The data are most consistent with lava lake overturn, but resurfacing by lava flows cannot be ruled out. A porosity gradient in the lake crust could cause lava lake overturn to occur periodically on the timescale observed.