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An active volcanic eruption on Jupiter’s moon Io was captured in this false color image taken on February 22, 2000 by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. White and orange areas on the left side of the picture show newly erupted hot lava. The two small bright spots are sites where molten rock is exposed to the surface at the toes of lava flows. The larger orange and yellow ribbon is a cooling lava flow that is more than more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) long.

This video was taken of Io by New Horizons as it passed by Jupiter on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt:

Interestingly, Io is the most geologically active celestial object that resides in our solar system. In fact, it’s only one of a small handful of objects in our solar system that are candidates for ongoing geological activity brewing beneath the surface.

Of the 400 (and still counting) volcanoes littering the surface of the Jovian moon (that seriously resembles a giant block of moldy cheese, doesn’t it), the most powerful moon of Io (and of our solar system in all) is Loki, which shoots boiling lava over 93 miles ( or 150 km) into space. Exo-geologists recently discovered a subsurface ocean of magma feeding Loki that extends at least 31 miles (50 km) beneath Io’s low-density crust. In comparison, the deepest portion of Earth’s ocean’s lies at the base of the Mariana Trench., 6.6 miles (or 10.6 km) below sea-level.

This is definitely one of those things one must see to believe 🙂

Larger version here: http://www.our-earth.net/Volcanic-eruption-on-Io-Jupiters-Moon.asp

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By: Jaime Trosper

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