Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Giant Lava Flow on Io in Color
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Giant Lava Flow on Io, in Color

September 26, 2003
This mosaic combines images collected in February 2000 and the summer of1999 by NASA's Galileo spacecraft to highlight new details of the longest active lava flow known in the solar system. The area, called Amirani, has been known to be the home of a number of volcanichot spots ever since NASA's two Voyager spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 1979. Images collected by Galileo in 1999 showed that these hot areas were part of a single immense lava flow field. The newest images confirm that the Amirani flow field is indeed a quilt work of dark lava flows. The most recent lavas are darkest because they are too hot to be covered by sulfur-dioxide plumes. Fresh lava is leaking out of at least five areas at the northern end of the Amirani flow field and at least three places in the middle. However, it is likely that the lava first comes to the surface near the southern end of the flow field.