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These are drawings of the interior of Io.
Click on image for full size

Interior of Io

The diagram to the left shows a cutaway of the possible interior structure of Io, based on recent measurements by the Galileo spacecraft. It shows a large iron/sulphur core (the Earth's core is iron/nickel), overlain with a silicate rocky material. There is no ice present within Io.

When the Galileo spacecraft flew by Io it measured the "figure" of Io. The measurements indicated that Io was fully differentiated into two distinct interior layers, as shown in this picture.

The history of Io is one of continuous warming due to tidal forces, which results in extensive volcanism on the surface. The tidal forces cause Io to warm up the same way a coat hanger, folded back and forth will cause coat hanger to warm. As shown in the figure, possible pools of melted, liquid sulphur, encounter the hot pockets of Io's interior and boil, providing Io with geysers on the surface.

With such extensive heating, it is possible that the core may be provided with motions sufficient for a magnetic field.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA