Loki, Io: New ground-based observations and a model describing the change from periodic overturn
Article first published online: 6 SEP 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 17, September 2006
How to Cite
2006), Loki, Io: New ground-based observations and a model describing the change from periodic overturn, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L17201, doi:10.1029/2006GL026844., and (
- Issue published online: 6 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 6 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 JUN 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 17 JUN 2006
- Manuscript Received: 5 JUN 2006
 Loki Patera is the most powerful volcano in the solar system. We have obtained measurements of Loki's 3.5 micron brightness from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and have witnessed a major change in eruptive behavior. While Loki brightened by a factor of several every 540 days prior to 2001, from 2001 through 2004 Loki remained at a constant, intermediate brightness. We have constructed a quantitative model of Loki as a basaltic lava lake whose solidified crust overturns when it becomes buoyantly unstable. By altering the speed at which the overturn propagates across the patera, we can match our ground-based brightness data. In addition, we can match other data taken at other times and wavelengths. By slowing the propagation speed dramatically, we can match the observations from 2001–2004. Such slowing could be due to a small change in volatile content in the lava.