Data from Jupiter's moon Io returned by the Galileo spacecraft have been used to create a geologic map of Prometheus Patera, its associated flow field, and nearby features. We have identified the location of the vent that fed the Prometheus flow field during the Galileo epoch in the north-eastern portion of the main Prometheus flow field. This vent is the probable source of a small sulphur-rich plume. Previous studies suggested that the vent may be atop a tectonic fault but we find that the vent is offset from the putative fault. It is plausible that, in the past, magma exploited the fault to reach the surface at Prometheus Patera, but subsequent magma cooling in the conduit could have caused an obstruction preventing further eruptions from providing significant contributions to the Prometheus flow field. We also speculate on how a new Prometheus plumbing system may be fed by mafic magmas after melt stalls in magma reservoirs during its ascent through the lithosphere from the mantle.
Additional Publication Details
Volcanic history, geologic analysis and map of the Prometheus Patera region on Io