The Zamama-Thor region of Io: Insights from a synthesis of mapping, topography, and Galileo spacecraft data

David Williams, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Paul M. Schenk, Moses P. Milazzo, Rosaly M C Lopes, Julie A. Rathbun, Ronald Greeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We have studied data from the Galileo spacecraft's three remote sensing instruments (Solid-State Imager (SSI), Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS), and Photopolarimeter-Radiometer (PPR)) covering the Zamama - Thor region of Io's antijovian hemisphere, and produced a geomorphological map of this region. This is the third of three regional maps we are producing from the Galileo spacecraft data. Our goal is to assess the variety of volcanic and tectonic materials and their interrelationships on Io using planetary mapping techniques, supplemented with all available Galileo remote sensing data. Based on the Galileo data analysis and our mapping, we have determined that the most recent geologic activity in the Zamama - Thor region has been dominated by two sites of large-scale volcanic surface changes. The Zamama Eruptive Center is a site of both explosive and effusive eruptions, which emanate from two relatively steep edifices (Zamama Tholi A and B) that appear to be built by both silicate and sulfur volcanism. A ∼100-km long flow field formed sometime after the 1979 Voyager flybys, which appears to be a site of promethean-style compound flows, flow-front SO2 plumes, and adjacent sulfur flows. Larger, possibly stealthy, plumes have on at least one occasion during the Galileo mission tapped a source that probably includes S and/or Cl to produce a red pyroclastic deposit from the same vent from which silicate lavas were erupted. The Thor Eruptive Center, which may have been active prior to Voyager, became active again during the Galileo mission between May and August 2001. A pillanian-style eruption at Thor included the tallest plume observed to date on Io (at least 500 km high) and new dark lava flows. The plume produced a central dark pyroclastic deposit (probably silicate-rich) and an outlying white diffuse ring that is SO2-rich. Mapping shows that several of th000e new dark lava flows around the plume vent have reoccupied sites of earlier flows. Unlike most of the other pillanian eruptions observed during the Galileo mission, the 2001 Thor eruption did not produce a large red ring deposit, indicating a relative lack of S and/or Cl gases interacting with the magma during that eruption. Between these two eruptive centers are two paterae, Thomagata and Reshef. Thomagata Patera is located on a large shield-like mesa and shows no signs of activity. In contrast, Reshef Patera is located on a large, irregular mesa that is apparently undergoing degradation through erosion (perhaps from SO2 -sapping or chemical decomposition of sulfur-rich material) from multiple secondary volcanic centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Geological processes
  • Io
  • Satellites of Jupiter
  • Surfaces (satellite)
  • Volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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