Three decades of Loki Patera observations

Imke de Pater*, Katherine de Kleer, Ashley Gerard Davies, Máté Ádámkovics

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We present observations of Io's Loki Patera taken with the 10-m Keck telescopes between 1998 and 2016. Adding these data to those published by Rathbun and Spencer (2006) and the Gemini data of de Kleer and de Pater (2016a, 2017) results in a database of 3.5-3.8. μm emission from Loki Patera over almost 3 decades. Data presented here contain adaptive optics (AO) observations of Io's sunlit hemisphere at wavelengths between 1.6 and 5. μm, AO observations of Io in eclipse at 2-5. μm, and non-AO observations of Io in eclipse at 1.6-12. μm. The non-AO data were taken in September of 1999, during the early phase of a brightening event that was documented by Howell et al. (2001). Dual-component Io Flow model (IFM) fits to our 1999 observations show a mostly cool lava crust over almost the entire patera floor, with a relatively small hotter component making up less than 1% of the total area, consistent with previous observations. The 30-year timeline of Loki Patera revealed that, after an apparent cessation of, or change in, brightening events in 2002, Loki Patera became active again in 2009. The more recent activity may have a slightly shorter periodicity than observed by Rathbun et al. (2002), and the direction of flow propagation appears to have reversed. Since 2009 the flow direction is in the clockwise direction, starting in the north or north-east corner and propagating along the patera towards the south-west. During the Galileo era the propagation was in the counter-clockwise direction, starting in the south-west and propagating towards the east. Both the 30-year timeline and the 1.6-12. μm spectrum that was obtained during the brightening event in 1999 agree well with Matson et al.'s (2006) overturning lava lake model, as modified by de Kleer and de Pater (2017).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017


  • Infrared Observations
  • Io
  • Volcanism


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