October 16th, 2015: The Effects of Magma on the Dynamics of Io’s Interior

Most planets in the solar system lose their internal heat through convection beneath a stagnant lid. However on Io, tidal heating is so intense that its mantle is partially molten. This magma migrates through Io’s mantle and erupts onto its surface. This is thought to be the main mechanism through which heat is removed from Io’s interior. Previous studies have only considered either solid-state mantle convection or magma migration, but magma generation and migration is not independent from mantle convection. Thus understanding the structure of Io’s mantle and how it loses its internal heat requires considering both mantle convection and magma migration. We use the mantle convection code StagYY, which includes the generation, segregation, and eruption of magma, to conduct two-dimensional numerical simulations of mantle convection in Io’s mantle. This allows us to constrain the distribution of melting in Io’s mantle and test the hypothesis that heat loss through volcanic eruptions dominates over heat loss through stagnant lid convection.

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