Watching two waves of hot lava in the Solar System’s largest volcano

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Enlarge / Loki Patera, in the lower-center, has a central island that divides two waves of molten material.

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Volcanic activity appears to be a common feature in our Solar System; we have evidence of it on three planets and two moons and hints of it elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean all volcanic activity is the same. Venus’ activity is driven by a simple version of plate tectonics. On the Moon, massive lava flows were released by large impacts, and Mars just seems to have vented heat left over from its formation. There are also hints of cryovolcanoes, which belch up ice rather than lava, on some of the bodies of the outer Solar System.

10.1038/nature22339  (About DOIs).


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