I³MS - McDoniel Seminar

Location: AICES Seminar Room 115, 1st floor, Schinkelstr. 2, 52062 Aachen

Dr. William McDoniel - DSMC Simulation of Io's Plumes and Atmosphere

AICES Graduate School, RWTH University Aachen


Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system and its giant SO2 plumes rise hundreds of kilometers above its rarefied atmosphere. These plumes leave huge, asymmetric deposition rings behind on Io's surface and are the ultimate source of surface frost on Io and of material for Jupiter's plasma torus. The direct simulation Monte Carlo method is used to model one of Io's night-side plumes from the surface of the lava lake from which it erupts, up to its umbrella-shaped canopy shock, and back down to Io's surface where it creates an asymmetric deposition ring. Simulations of plumes being bombarded by ions show how the plume/plasma interaction depends on the location of the plume on Io and how plumes play an important role in supplying Jupiter's plasma torus. Simulations of plumes over an entire Io day show how plume material becomes suspended in and displaces the sublimation atmosphere such that models of the plume/atmosphere interaction which assume that the plume and sublimation components of the atmosphere are independent can yield poor estimates for the total volcanic mass flux, surface thermal inertia, and other parameters.