'Sea of lava' larger than Lake Ontario discovered on Jupiter's moon

Researchers at University of California Berkeley have obtained an exceptionally detailed map of the largest known lava lake in our solar system.

Located on Jupiter's moon Io, the lava lake known as Loki Patera is a whopping 127 miles across and spans over 8,300 square miles — meanwhile, Lake Ontario covers just 7,320 mi².

"If Loki Patera is a sea of lava, it encompasses an area more than a million times that of a typical lava lake on Earth," said Katherine de Kleer, a UC Berkeley graduate student and the study's lead author.

According to Popular Science, Io is the most volcanically active body in our entire solar system because its interior is constantly heated by the strong gravitational pull of Jupiter and its larger moons.

This constant heating keeps Io's interior in a melted state and ensures that, over large parts of the moon's crust, the floor is literally lava.

"This is a step forward in trying to understand volcanism on Io, which we have been observing for more than 15 years, and in particular the volcanic activity at Loki Patera," said Imke de Pater, a UC Berkeley professor of astronomy.

Read more about De Kleer and her team's findings in the journal Nature.

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