Cold Case: Radar investigation of ammonium sulfate cryovolcanism on Titan

Abstract : The detection of a large tidal k2 value from Cassini [1] constitutes very strong evi-dence for a subcrustal ocean, most plausibly dominated by water. However, the secondary constituents are not known. One interesting possibility that has received scant attention in analysis of surface data sets is that the ocean contain aqueous ammonium sulfates, which erupted on the surface in the past to create vast, smooth plains [2]. We adopt the hypothesis that the undifferentiated plains—the "bland-lands" in the mid-latitudes of Titan—are these deposits, and test it using radiometry with SAR data. Lopez et al (this conference) investigate the global distribution and possible origin of this type of unit. We extracted SAR and radiometry-during-SAR data sets from the PDS, and pro-duced maps of brightness temperatures. The SAR imagery was used to identify locations where crossovers exist -some of which are in the undifferentiated plains--and hence where brightness temperatures at different incidence angles are available. We derived emissivities from the data using a simple radiometric model [3] to ac-count for the brightness temperature differences as a function of surface roughness, volume scattering and emissivity. We test the hypothesis by assessing whether the derived emissivities and volume scattering in the bland-lands are consistent with the model cryoclastic ash of ice and ammonium sulfate proposed in [2], distinct from that in other terrains. [1] L. Iess, R.A. Jacobson, M. Ducci, D.J. Stevenson, J.I. Lunine, J.W. Armstrong, S.W. Asmar, P. Racioppa, N.J. Rappaport, P. Tortora, Science, 337, 457 (2012). [2] A.D. Fortes, P.M. Grinrod, S.K. Trickett, L. Vocadlo. Icarus, 188, 139 (2007). [3] T.L. White and J.R. Cogdell. The Moon, 6, 235 (1973).
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C. Thomann, A. G. Hayes, J. Hofgartner, J.I. Lunine, Alice Le Gall. Cold Case: Radar investigation of ammonium sulfate cryovolcanism on Titan. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012, Dec 2012, San Francisco, United States. pp.abstract #P21E-1884. ⟨hal-01077318⟩

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