Io Volcanoes: Jupiter's Moon

Io Volcanoes: Jupiter's Moon thumbnail


Io has often been described as looking like a pizza covered with melted cheese, tomato sauce and olives. The reason for this distinct surface is its vast number of active volcanoes. There are hundreds of volcanoes scattered over the surface of the moon, which is a bit larger than Earth’s Moon. Many of the volcanoes are still active and Voyager 1 and 2 were able to capture pictures of erupting volcanoes with plumes as tall as 190 miles.

The path of Io around Jupiter is highly elliptical causing the tidal forces exerted on the moon to be immense. The effect of this is that the solid body of the moon can bulge out to almost 330 feet. This movement makes the moon incredibly hot, keeping the subsurface crust in a liquid state. This liquid sub-layer is one of the reasons for the high volcanic activity. One result of the volcanic activity is that there are very few crater marks as new lava is constantly filling in any craters that are created. Because of this, Io has a very young surface. There are three datasets available for Io. Io, Moon of Jupiter - USGS and Io (Jupiter moon) show the surface of the moon as imaged by Voyager and Galileo. This dataset starts with the surface of Io, then highlights the locations of 26 major volcanoes on Io and finally shows the surface again.

Notable Features

  • Extraordinary number of volcanoes
  • Lack of craters
  • "Pizza—like" appearance
  • Volcanoes labeled with letters

Related Datasets