Geologic mapping of the Hi'iaka and Shamshu regions of Io

Melissa K. Bunte, David Williams, Ronald Greeley, Windy L. Jaeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We produced regional geologic maps of the Hi'iaka and Shamshu regions of Io's antijovian hemisphere using Galileo mission data to assess the geologic processes that are involved in the formation of Io's mountains and volcanic centers. Observations reveal that these regions are characterized by several types of volcanic activity and features whose orientation and texture indicate tectonic activity. Among the volcanic features are multiple hotspots and volcanic vents detected by Galileo, one at each of the major paterae: Hi'iaka, Shamshu, and Tawhaki. We mapped four primary types of geologic units: flows, paterae floors, plains, and mountains. The flows and patera floors are similar, but are subdivided based upon emplacement environments and mechanisms. The floors of Hi'iaka and Shamshu Paterae have been partially resurfaced by dark lava flows, although portions of the paterae floors appear bright and unchanged during the Galileo mission; this suggests that the floors did not undergo complete resurfacing as flooding lava lakes. However, the paterae do contain compound lava flow fields and show the greatest activity near the paterae walls, a characteristic of Pele type lava lakes. Mountain materials are tilted crustal blocks that exhibit varied degrees of degradation. Lineated mountains have characteristic en echelon grooves that likely formed as a result of gravitational sliding. Undivided mountains are partially grooved but exhibit evidence of slumping and are generally lower elevation than the lineated units. Debris lobes and aprons are representative of mottled mountain materials. We have explored the possibility that north and south Hi'iaka Mons were originally one structure. We propose that strike-slip faulting and subsequent rifting separated the mountain units and created a depression which, by further extension during the rifting event, became Hi'iaka Patera. This type of rifting and depression formation is similar to the mechanism of formation of terrestrial pull-apart basins. With comparison to other regional maps of Io and global studies of paterae and mountains, this work provides insight into the general geologic evolution of Io.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-886
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Geological processes
  • Io
  • Volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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