1. Global Geomorphologic Map of Titan

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    The first global geomorphologic map of Titan has been published.

    Titan’s thick and hazy atmosphere has hindered the identification of its geologic features at visible wavelengths, so scientists combined all the available datasets from Cassini (RADAR, VIMS, ISS) to create the map. Correlations between datasets enabled them to produce a global map even where datasets were incomplete.

    Titan has an active methane-based hydrologic cycle that has shaped a complex geologic landscape, making its surface one of most geologically diverse in the Solar System. Despite the differences in materials, temperatures and gravity fields between Earth and Titan, many of their surface features are similar and can be interpreted as products of the same geologic processes.

    The map shows that Titan’s surface is dominated by sedimentary or depositional processes with a clear latitudinal variation, with dunes at the equator, plains at mid-latitudes and labyrinth terrains and lakes at the poles. Plains are the most widespread unit on Titan, covering 65% of the surface. Dunes cover 17% while the hummocky unit, the oldest on the surface, cover 14% and is thought to be the remnant of the ice shell. Other units cover only small areas.

    The spatial and superposition relations between major geological units reveals the likely temporal evolution of the landscape and provides insight into the interacting processes driving its evolution.

    The paper, “A global geomorphologic map of Saturn’s moon Titan” is published in the nature Journal.

    Source: [Nature Geosciences]