Does Jupiter's magnetic field affect the earth

Electrically conductive layer of liquid rock influences the magnetic field of the planet Jupiter

Magma affects magnetic field

Los Angeles (USA) - Under the surface of Jupiter's moon Io is a layer of partially melted magma that is at least 50 kilometers thick. This is shown by a new evaluation of magnetic field data from the Galileo space probe, which orbited the planet Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. The magma ocean is responsible for the strong volcanism on Io, report American researchers in the online edition of the journal "Science".

"The strong volcanism and the high temperature of the lava point to a global magma reservoir in the interior of Io, but so far there has been no direct evidence for this," explain Krishan Khurana from the University of California in Los Angeles and his colleagues. With a trick, the scientists have now been able to provide this proof: They used the rotating magnetic field of the planet Jupiter to take a look inside the moon.

Using measurements made by the Galileo probe in 1999 and 2000, Khurana and his colleagues were able to analyze how Io affects Jupiter's magnetic field. "We were able to show that a completely solid coat does not produce a sufficient response to explain the observations," the researchers write. Only a 50-kilometer-thick layer of at least 20 percent liquid magma has sufficient electrical conductivity to generate the measured magnetic field changes.

Apart from the earth, Io is the only celestial body in our solar system on which there are active volcanoes. The volcanoes of Jupiter's moon produce a hundred times more lava than the terrestrial mountains of fire. The high temperature of the lava on Io suggests that the magma in the mantle is up to 1450 degrees Celsius. While volcanoes on Earth are located along zones of activity such as the Pacific Ring of Fire, they are almost evenly distributed on the surface of Io. Perhaps volcanism on Io is similar to volcanism on young earth. The exploration of Jupiter's moon could therefore also provide new insights into the early history of our planet, emphasize the researchers.