Tidal dissipation, magmatism and mantle convection on Io

   Department of Earth Sciences

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  Prof Richard Katz  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Intense magmatism and volcanism in Jupiter’s moon Io is driven by tidal heating. Magmatic segregation from the mantle and heat-piping across the crust exports the tidal heat to space, maintaining a thermal equilibrium. This magmatic transport will tend to stratify Io’s mantle, with refractory, Mg-rich olivine in a deep layer and fertile, Fe-rich minerals in a shallow layer. The compositional and thermal density structure of this stratification are both unstable and so convection is expected. The character and consequences of this convection are unknown. Unlike most convective systems, this one is partially molten, and its mass and energy transport may be dominated by magmatic segregation. This project aims to develop general theory and models of mantle convection in internally heated, partially molten planets. It aims to understand how heat transport mechanisms control the evolution of such planets. The main application will be to Io, but there is broad potential for application to the early Earth and tidally heated (exo)planets. 

Geology (18)


Spencer, D. C., Katz, R. F., & Hewitt, I. J. (2020).
Magmatic intrusions control Io's crustal thickness.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets,
Spencer, D. C., Katz, R. F., Hewitt, I. J., May, D. A.,
& Keszthelyi, L. P. (2020). Compositional layering
in Io driven by magmatic segregation and
volcanism. Journal of Geophysical Research:
Planets, e2020JE006604.
Hernlund, J. W., Tackley, P. J., & Stevenson, D. J.
(2008). Buoyant melting instabilities beneath
extending lithosphere: 1. Numerical models.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth,
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 About the Project