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W. D. Smythe (JPL)
The bright deposit in Baldur Patera is suggestive of deposition of SO2 in a fluid phase. The deposit is bright, topographically confined, and has a spectral signature of unsually pure SO2. There are only two places on Io where this class of SO2 spectrum has been detected. Both are limited in extent (about 10,000 square kilometers). This limited rate of detection is quite likely a selection effect, caused by the limited amount of high resolution NIMS spectral data of Io obtained throughout the Galileo mission. However, bright small areas in imaging data may provide clues to the rate of occurance of areas similar to Baldur. These bright areas are classified with respect to size and phase behavior in an effort to map the distribution of possible fluid outbreaks. A subsurface resevoir of SO2 fluid could help explain how persistent gaseous plumes can occur for years in a limited locale on Io without exhausting SO2 resources.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.