DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 29. Io
Oral, Chairs: W. Smythe, D. Simonelli, Wednesday, 2000/10/25, 10:30am-12:10pm, C106

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[29.03] Numerical modeling of mountain formation on Io

E.P. Turtle, W.L. Jaeger, A.S. McEwen, L. Keszthelyi (LPL, Univ. of Arizona)

Io has ~ 100 mountains [1] that, although often associated with patera [2], do not appear to be volcanic structures. The mountains are up to 16 km high [3] and are generally isolated from each other. We have performed finite-element simulations of the formation of these mountains, investigating several mountain building scenarios: (1) a volcanic construct due to heterogeneous resurfacing on a coherent, homogeneous lithosphere; (2) a volcanic construct on a faulted, homogeneous lithosphere; (3) a volcanic construct on a faulted, homogeneous lithosphere under compression induced by subsidence due to Io's high resurfacing rate; (4) a faulted, homogeneous lithosphere under subsidence-induced compression; (5) a faulted, heterogeneous lithosphere under subsidence-induced compression; and (6) a mantle upwelling beneath a coherent, homogeneous lithosphere under subsidence-induced compression. The models of volcanic constructs do not produce mountains similar to those observed on Io. Neither do those of pervasively faulted lithospheres under compression; these predict a series of tilted lithospheric blocks or plateaus, as opposed to the isolated structures that are observed. Our models show that rising mantle material impinging on the base of the lithosphere can focus the compressional stresses to localize thrust faulting and mountain building. Such faults could also provide conduits along which magma could reach the surface as is observed near several mountains.

[1] Carr et al., Icarus 135, pp. 146-165, 1998. [2] McEwen et al., Science 288, pp. 1193-1198, 2000. [3] Schenk and Bulmer, Science 279, pp. 1514-1517, 1998.

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