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Loki, Io: A periodic volcano

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/05/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1443
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.