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Fluvial erosion and post erosional processes on Titan

Jaumann, Ralf and Brown, Robert H. and Stephan, Katrin and Barnes, Jason W. and Soderblom, Larry A. and Sotin, Christophe and Le Mouélic, Stephané and Clark, Roger N. and Soderblom, Jason and Buratti, Bonnie J. and Wagner, Roland and McCord, Thomas B. and Rodriguez, Sebastien and Baines, Kevin H. and Cruikshank, Dale P. and Nicholson, Phil D. and Griffith, Caitlin A. and Langhans, Mirjam and Lorenz, Ralph D. (2008) Fluvial erosion and post erosional processes on Titan. Icarus: International Journal of Solar System Studies, 197, pp. 526-638. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.06.002. ISSN 0019-1035.

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The surface of Titan has been revealed by Cassini observations in the infrared and radar wavelength ranges as well as locally by the Huygens lander instruments. Sand seas, recently discovered lakes, distinct landscapes and dendritic erosion patterns indicate dynamic surface processes. This study focus on erosional and depositional features that can be used to constrain the amount of liquids involved in the erosional process as well as on the compositional characteristics of depositional areas. Fluvial erosion channels on Titan as identified at the Huygens landing site and in RADAR and Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) observations have been compared to analogous channel widths on Earth yielding average discharges of up to 1600 m3/s for short recurrence intervals that are sufficient to move centimeter-sized sediment and significantly higher discharges for long intervals. With respect to the associated drainage areas, this roughly translates to 1–150 cm/day runoff production rates with 10 years recurrence intervals and by assuming precipitation this implies 0.6–60 mm/h rainfall rates. Thus the observed surface erosion fits with the methane convective storm models as well as with the rates needed to transport sediment. During Cassini's T20 fly-by, the VIMS observed an extremely eroded area at 30° W, 7° S with resolutions of up to 500 m/pixel that extends over thousands of square kilometers. The spectral characteristics of this area change systematically, reflecting continuous compositional and/or particle size variations indicative of transported sediment settling out while flow capacities cease. To account for the estimated runoff production and widespread alluvial deposits of fine-grained material, release of area-dependent large fluid volumes are required. Only frequent storms with heavy rainfall or cryovolcanic induced melting can explain these erosional features.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/55402/
Document Type:Article
Title:Fluvial erosion and post erosional processes on Titan
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Brown, Robert H.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Barnes, Jason W.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Soderblom, Larry A.U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sotin, ChristopheUniversity of Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Le Mouélic, StephanéUniversity of Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Clark, Roger N.U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Soderblom, JasonLunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Buratti, Bonnie J.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
McCord, Thomas B.Bear Fight Center, Wnthrop, WA, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rodriguez, SebastienUniversity of Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Baines, Kevin H.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Cruikshank, Dale P.NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, Phil D.Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Griffith, Caitlin A.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lorenz, Ralph D.Space Department, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Icarus: International Journal of Solar System Studies
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 526-638
Keywords:Titan, Satellites, surfaces, Spectroscopy, Ices, Erosion
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben CASSINI (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:17 Oct 2008
Last Modified:25 Jul 2022 10:57

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