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Saturn's Titan: Surface change, ammonia, and implications for atmospheric and tectonic activity

Nelson, R.M. and Kamp, L.W. and Matson, D.L. and Irwin, P.G.J. and Baines, K.H. and Boryta, M.D. and Leader, F.E. and Jaumann, R. and Smythe, W.D. and Sotin, C. and Clark, R.N. and Cruikshank, D.P. and Drossart, P. and Pearl, J.C. and Hapke, B.W. and Lunine, K. and Combes, M. and Bellucci, G. and Bibring, J.-P. and Capaccioni, F. and Cerroni, P. and Coradini, A. and Formisano, V. and Filaccione, G. and Langevin, R.Y. and McCord, T.B. and Menella, V. and Nicholson, P.D. and Sicardy, B. (2009) Saturn's Titan: Surface change, ammonia, and implications for atmospheric and tectonic activity. Icarus: International Journal of Solar System Studies, 199 (2), pp. 429-441. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.08.013

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Titan is known to have a young surface. Here we present evidence from the Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer that it is currently geologically active. We report that changes in the near-infrared reflectance of a 73,000 km2 area on Titan (latitude 26° S, longitude 78° W) occurred between July 2004 and March of 2006. The reflectance of the area increased by a factor of two between July 2004 and March–April 2005; it then returned to the July 2004 level by November 2005. By late December 2005 the reflectance had surged upward again, establishing a new maximum. Thereafter, it trended downward for the next three months. Detailed spectrophotometric analyses suggest these changes happen at or very near the surface. The spectral differences between the region and its surroundings rule out changes in the distribution of the ices of reasonably expected materials such as H2O, CO2, and CH4 as possible causes. Remarkably, the change is spectrally consistent with the deposition and removal of NH3 frost over a water ice substrate. NH3 has been proposed as a constituent of Titan's interior and has never been reported on the surface. The detection of NH3 frost on the surface might possibly be explained by episodic effusive events occur which bring juvenile ammonia from the interior to the surface. If so, its decomposition would feed nitrogen to the atmosphere now and in the future. The lateral extent of the region exceeds that of active areas on the Earth (Hawaii) or Io (Loki).

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/61548/
Document Type:Article
Title:Saturn's Titan: Surface change, ammonia, and implications for atmospheric and tectonic activity
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Nelson, R.M.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Kamp, L.W.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Matson, D.L.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Irwin, P.G.J.Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford, UKUNSPECIFIED
Baines, K.H.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Boryta, M.D.Department of Geology, Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, CA 91789, USAUNSPECIFIED
Leader, F.E.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Jaumann, R.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Smythe, W.D.Earth and Space Science Division, JPL/NASA, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sotin, C.Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique, University of Nantes, 2 Rue de la Houssinière Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Clark, R.N.US Geological Survey, Mail Stop 964, Box 25046, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, USAUNSPECIFIED
Cruikshank, D.P.NASA AMES, MS 245-6, Mountain View, CA 94035, USAUNSPECIFIED
Drossart, P.Observatoire de Paris, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Pearl, J.C.Goddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt MDUNSPECIFIED
Hapke, B.W.University of Pittsburgh, 321 OEH, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USAUNSPECIFIED
Lunine, K.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USAUNSPECIFIED
Combes, M.Office of the Director, Observatoire de Paris, 14eme, 61 Avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Bellucci, G.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Bibring, J.-P.Faculté des Sciences, Université de Paris, Sud-Orsay, 91405 Orsay Cedex, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Capaccioni, F.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Cerroni, P.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Coradini, A.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Formisano, V.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Filaccione, G.IASF Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale Fisica Cosmica, Via Fosso Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Langevin, R.Y.Faculté des Sciences, Université de Paris, Sud-Orsay, 91405 Orsay Cedex, FranceUNSPECIFIED
McCord, T.B.University of Washington, POB 667, Winthrop, WA 98862, USAUNSPECIFIED
Menella, V.Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello, 16, 80131 Napoli, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, P.D.Astronomy Department, Cornell University, Space Sciences Building, Ithaca NY 14853, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sicardy, B.Observatoire de Paris, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Date:2009
Journal or Publication Title:Icarus: International Journal of Solar System Studies
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:199
DOI :10.1016/j.icarus.2008.08.013
Page Range:pp. 429-441
Publisher:Elsevier
Status:Published
Keywords:Titan; Spectrophotometry; Infrared observations; Ices; Spectroscopy
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
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:09 Dec 2009 09:39
Last Modified:26 Mar 2013 13:14

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