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Alluvial and fluvial fans on Saturn’s moon Titan reveal processes, materials and regional geology

Abstract : Fans, landforms that record the storage and transport of sediment from uplands to depositional basins, are found on Saturn's moon Titan, a body of significantly different process rates and material compositions from Earth. Images obtained by the Cassini spacecraft's synthetic aperture radar reveal morphologies, roughness, textural patterns and other properties consistent with fan analogues on Earth also viewed by synthetic aperture radar. The observed fan characteristics on Titan reveal some regions of high relative relief and others with gentle slopes over hundreds of kilometres, exposing topographic variations and influences on fan formation. There is evidence for a range of particle sizes across proximal to distal fan regions, from c. 2 cm or more to fine-grained, which can provide details on sedimentary processes. Some features are best described as alluvial fans, which implies their proximity to high-relief source areas, while others are more likely to be fluvial fans, drawing from larger catchment areas and frequently characterized by more prolonged runoff events. The presence of fans corroborates the vast liquid storage capacity of the atmosphere and the resultant episodic behaviour. Fans join the growing list of landforms on Titan derived from atmospheric and fluvial processes similar to those on Earth, strengthening comparisons between these two planetary bodies.
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Contributor : Catherine Cardon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, February 15, 2016 - 5:56:30 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 5:21:21 AM


  • HAL Id : insu-01274381, version 1


Jani Radebaugh, Dario Ventra, Ralph D. Lorenz, Tom Farr, Randy Kirk, et al.. Alluvial and fluvial fans on Saturn’s moon Titan reveal processes, materials and regional geology. Ventra, D. & Clarke, L. E. (eds). Geology and Geomorphology of Alluvial and Fluvial Fans: Terrestrial and Planetary Perspectives, SP440, The Geological Society, 2016. ⟨insu-01274381⟩



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