Structural Mapping of Paterae and Mountains on Io: Implications for Crustal Stresses and Feature Evolution

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Alexandra Ahern, Jani Radebaugh, Eric H Christiansen and Ronald A. Harris, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, United States
Paterae and mountains are some of the most distinguishing and well-distributed surface features on Io, and they reveal the role of tectonism in Io’s crust. Paterae, similar to calderas, are volcano-tectonic collapse features that often have straight margins. Io’s mountains are some of the highest in the solar system and contain linear features that reveal crustal stresses. Paterae and mountains are often found adjacent to one another, suggesting possible genetic relationships. We have produced twelve detailed regional structural maps from high-resolution images of relevant features, where available, as well as a global structural map from the Io Global Color Mosaic. The regional structural maps identify features such as fractures, lineations, folds, faults, and mass wasting scarps, which are then interpreted in the context of global and regional stress regimes. A total of 1048 structural lineations have been identified globally. Preliminary analyses of major thrust and normal fault orientations are dominantly 90° offset from each other, suggesting the maximum contractional stresses leading to large mountain formation are not a direct result of tidal extension. Rather, these results corroborate the model of volcanic loading of the crust and global shortening, leading to thrust faulting and uplift of coherent crustal blocks. Several paterae, such as Hi’iaka and Tohil, are found adjacent to mountains inside extensional basins where lava has migrated up normal faults to erupt onto patera floors. Over time, mass wasting and volcanic resurfacing can change mountains from young, steep, and angular peaks to older, gentler, and more rounded hills. Mass wasting scarps make up 53% of all features identified. The structural maps highlight the significant effect of mass wasting on Io’s surface, the evolution of mountains through time, the role of tectonics in the formation of paterae, and the formation of mountains through global contraction due to volcanism.