Titan

Volcanism on Titan

 

The Cassini Titan Radar Mapper obtained Synthetic Aperture Radar images of Titan's surface during four fly-bys during the mission's first year. These images show that Titan's surface is very complex geologically, showing evidence of major planetary geologic processes, including cryovolcanism. This paper discusses the variety of cryovolcanic features identified from SAR images, their possible origin, and their geologic context. The features which we identify as cryovolcanic in origin include a large (180 km diameter) volcanic construct (dome or shield), several extensive flows, and three calderas which appear to be the source of flows. The composition of the cryomagma on Titan is still unknown, but constraints on rheological properties can be estimated using flow thickness. Rheological properties of one flow were estimated and appear inconsistent with ammonia-water slurries, and possibly more consistent with ammonia-water-methanol slurries. The extent of cryovolcanism on Titan is still not known, as only a small fraction of the surface has been imaged at sufficient resolution. Energetic considerations suggest that cryovolcanism may have been a dominant process in the resurfacing of Titan.

 

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Lopes, R.M.C., K.L. Mitchell, E.R. Stofan, J.I. Lunine, R. Lorenz, F. Paganelli, R.L. Kirk, C.A. Wood, S.D. Wall, L.E. Robshaw, A.D. Fortes, C.D. Neish, J. Radebaugh, E. Reffet, S.J. Ostro, C. Elachi, M.D. Allison, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, G. Boubin, P. Callahan, P. Encrenaz, E. Flamini, G. Francescetti, Y. Gim, G. Hamilton, S. Hensley, M.A. Janssen, W.T.K. Johnson, K. Kelleher, D.O. Muhleman, G. Ori, R. Orosei, G. Picardi, F. Posa, L.E. Roth, R. Seu, S. Shaffer, L.A. Soderblom, B. Stiles, S. Vetrella, R.D. West, L. Wye, and H.A. Zebker, 2007: Cryovolcanic features on Titan's surface as revealed by the Cassini Titan Radar Mapper. Icarus, 186, 395-412, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2006.09.006.

R M Lopes; ER Stofan; R Peckyno; et.al. Distribution and Interplay of Geologic Processes on Titan: Analysis Using Cassini Data. Icarus Volume 205, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 540-558. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.08.010.