Titan's Plains: Global Distribution and Possible Origin

Abstract : Titan's diverse and Earth-like geologic features have been mapped and interpreted based on their morphological characteristics (Lopes et al., 2010, Icarus 205; Aharonson et al., 2012, Titan: Surface, Atmosphere, Magnetosphere, Cambridge University Press). While the interpretation for the origin of some units, such as dunes and well-preserved impact craters, has been relatively straightforward, others have been more challenging. In particular, the undifferentiated plains first mapped by Lopes et al. (2010) remain mysterious. These vast expanses, mostly found at mid-latitudes are relatively featureless and appear to have low relief. Their gradational boundaries and paucity of features in SAR data make geologic interpretation particularly difficult using only this dataset. Plains may be sedimentary in origin, resulting from fluvial or lacustrine deposition or accumulation of photolysis products created in the upper atmosphere. Alternatively, the plains may be cryovolcanic, consisting of overlapping flows of low relief, obscured by accumulation of sediments. In this paper, we use SAR, radiometry, scatterometry, and SARTopo data to examine the characteristics of the plains and compare them with other geologic units. We also compare their global distribution with that of other units and examine the implications of a possible cryovolcanic origin.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 24, 2014 - 1:40:50 PM
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R. M. Lopes, Alice Le Gall, R. L. Kirk, J. S. Kargel, E. R. Stofan, et al.. Titan's Plains: Global Distribution and Possible Origin. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012, Dec 2012, San Francisco, United States. pp.abstract #P21E-1883. ⟨hal-01077305⟩

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