Near-infrared spectral mapping of Titan's mountains and channels

Research areas:
Year:
2007
Authors:
  • Jason W. Barnes
  • Jani Radebaugh
  • Robert H. Brown
  • Steve Wall
  • Laurence Soderblom
  • Jonathan Lunine
  • Devon Burr
  • Christophe Sotin
  • Stéphane Le Mouélic
  • Sebastien Rodriguez
  • Bonnie J. Buratti
  • Roger Clark
  • Kevin H. Baines
  • Ralf Jaumann
  • Phillip D. Nicholson
  • Randolph L. Kirk
  • Rosaly Lopes
  • Ralph D. Lorenz
  • Karl Mitchell
  • Charles A. Wood
Journal:
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS
Volume:
112
Number:
E11
Month:
NOV 20
ISSN:
2169-9097
BibTex:
Abstract:
We investigate the spectral reflectance properties of channels and
mountain ranges on Titan using data from Cassini's Visual and Infrared
Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) obtained during the T9 encounter (26
December 2005). We identify the location of channels and mountains using
synthetic aperture radar maps obtained from Cassini's RADAR instrument
during the T13 ( 30 April 2006) flyby. Channels are evident even in VIMS
imaging with spatial resolution coarser than the channel size. The
channels share spectral characteristics with Titan's dark blue terrain
(e. g., the Huygens landing site) that is consistent with an enhancement
in water ice content relative to the rest of Titan. We use this fact to
measure widths of similar to 1 km for the largest channels. Comparison
of the data sets shows that in our study area within the equatorial
bright spectral unit east of Xanadu, mountains are darker and bluer than
surrounding smooth terrain. These results are consistent with the
equatorial bright terrain possessing a veneer of material that is
thinner in the regions where there are mountains and streambeds that
have likely undergone more recent and extensive erosion. We suggest a
model for the geographic relationship of the dark blue, dark brown, and
equatorial bright spectral units based on our findings.