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Geological evolution of Titan's equatorial regions: Possible nature and origin of the dune material

Brossier, Jérémy F. and Rodriguez, S. and Cornet, Thomas and Lucas, A. and Radebaugh, Jani and Maltagliati, L. and Le Mouelic, S. and Solomonidou, A. and Coustenis, A. and Hirtzig, M. and Jaumann, R. and Stephan, Katrin and Sotin, C. (2018) Geological evolution of Titan's equatorial regions: Possible nature and origin of the dune material. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS. Wiley. doi: 10.1029/2017JE005399. ISSN 2169-9097.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JE005399


In thirteen years, infrared observations from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) onboard Cassini provided significant hints about the spectral and geological diversity of Titan's surface. The analysis of the infrared signature of spectral units enables constraining the surface composition, which is crucial for understanding possible interactions between Titan’s interior, surface and atmosphere. Here, we investigate a selection of areas in the equatorial regions, imaged by Cassini’s instruments, which exhibit an apparent transition from the VIMS IR-bright to the IR-blue and IR-brown units (from false-color composites using red: 1.57/1.27 µm, green: 2.01/1.27 µm, and blue: 1.27/1.08 µm). By applying an updated radiative transfer model, we extract the surface albedo of IR-units identified in these regions. Then, we compare them with synthetic mixtures of two expected components on Titan’s surface, namely water ice and laboratory tholins. This allows us to reconnect the derived composition and grain size information to the geomorphology observed from RADAR/SAR images. We interpret IR-bright units as hills and plains coated by organic material and incised by fluvial networks. Erosion products are transported downstream to areas where IR-blue units are seen near the IR-bright units. These units, enriched in water ice, are most likely outwash plains hosting debris from fluvial erosion. Farther away from the IR-bright units, the IR-brown units are dominantly made of organics with varied grain sizes, ranging from dust- to sand-sized particles that form the dune fields. The transition areas therefore exhibit trends in water ice content and grain size supported by geomorphological observations.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/120190/
Document Type:Article
Title:Geological evolution of Titan's equatorial regions: Possible nature and origin of the dune material
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Brossier, Jérémy F.jeremy.brossier (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7423-2494
Rodriguez, S.IPGP Paris, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Cornet, ThomasLaboratoire AIM, Université Paris Diderot, ParisUNSPECIFIED
Lucas, A.IPGP Paris, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Radebaugh, JaniDepartment of Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USAUNSPECIFIED
Maltagliati, L.Nature Publishing Group London, UKUNSPECIFIED
Le Mouelic, S.Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique, 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 NantesUNSPECIFIED
Solomonidou, A.ESAC, Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIED
Coustenis, A.Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA), Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 92195 Meudon Cedex, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Hirtzig, M.Fondation La Main a la Pate, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Jaumann, R.ralf.jaumann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Stephan, KatrinKatrin.Stephan (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Sotin, C.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:April 2018
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1029/2017JE005399
Keywords:Titan geology, radiative transfer code, surface composition
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Exploration of the Solar System
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Brossier, Jérémy F.
Deposited On:10 Sep 2018 15:16
Last Modified:23 Feb 2019 00:22

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