Biggest volcano on Jupiter's moon could explode anytime

Jupiter moon Io
The Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) image was acquired at 12:30 (UTC) on Dec. 21, 2018. The instrument reveals very high temperatures at the location of a volcanic eruption on Io. This observation was taken during the same fully eclipsed period of images from the JunoCam and Stellar Reference Unit. Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jupiter's moon Io is considered one of the most volcanically active bodies in the solar system and volcanic explosions are very common in this space body. Now, a new study report has revealed that the largest moon in Jupiter's moon could erupt anytime soon.

As per the research report, Loki Patera, the 125 miles wide volcanic lake that has exploded many times in the past could erupt once again, thus creating a lava lake in the space body. Interestingly, the research team that conducted this study had accurately predicted the previous volcanic eruption of Loki Patera that happened in May 2018.

"If this behavior remains the same, Loki should erupt in September 2019, around the same time as the EPSC-DPS meeting in Geneva. We correctly predicted that the last eruption would occur in May of 2018," said Julie Rathbun, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona in a recent statement.

The volcanic cycle of Loki Patera has been perplexing scientists for years. Volcanic outbursts of Loki Patera occurred every 540 earth days or so in the 1990s and surprisingly, this periodic behavior was halted in the 200s. However, in 2013, eruptions started happening again, and it is now happening in every 475 days.

In addition to this, Rathbun said, "Volcanoes are so difficult to predict because they are so complicated. Many things influence volcanic eruptions, including the rate of magma supply, the composition of the magma — particularly the presence of bubbles in the magma, the type of rock the volcano sits in, the fracture state of the rock and many other issues."

Experts believe that Jupiter's powerful gravitational effect is the main reason behind Io's increased volcanic activity.

A few weeks ago, Ethan Chappel, an amateur astronomer had captured the images of a gigantic meteor smashing on the surface of Jupiter. It should be noted that the meteor that smashed on Jupiter was so big, and it was the reason why it became visible to an amateur astronomer who was using a backyard telescope.

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