Journal article Open Access

The thermal signature of volcanic eruptions on Io and Earth

Davies, Ashley Gerard; Keszthelyi, Laszlo P.; Harris, Andrew J. L.

We investigate a spectrum-based technique to identify the style of active volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's moon Io. Thermal remote sensing of Io has had to rely primarily on low-spatial-resolution data, similar to low-spatial-resolution satellite data applied to detecting and charting the temporal evolution of terrestrial hot spots. These terrestrial analyses use data from sensors designed to monitor the weather and sea surface temperature. On Io, such low-spatial-resolution data are used to classify eruption styles (modes of emplacement) by means of several criteria related to the temporal evolution of the infrared spectrum associated with the eruptive activity at each hot spot, which we term "thermal signature." We find that the ratio of the emission at 2 and 5 µm, and how this ratio changes with time, is often diagnostic of eruption style, even in low-spatial-resolution data. Tests using thermal data for terrestrial "ground truth" cases show that our classification system is valid on Earth. The results of our analysis can be used to aid in the design of future space-based instruments that can be used for volcano monitoring on Io, as well as Earth.

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