Cook, C., Barnes, J.W., Kattenhorn, S.A., Hurford, T., Radebaugh, J. (2012)

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Global patterns of tectonism on Titan from mountain ranges


GSA Abstracts with Programs, 44 (7), 328, Paper #131-9.

Several moons in the outer solar system display suggested patterns of global stress fields driven or modified by global forces which affect patterns of tectonism. Europa's tidally induced fracture patterns, Enceladus's tiger stripes, Ganymede's global expansion induced normal faults, and Io's plain ridges are examples of such tectonic patterns. Given its proximity to Saturn, as well as its eccentric orbit, tectonic features and global stresses may be present on Titan as well. Mountain chains observed on Titan's surface by the Cassini RADAR are of possible tectonic origin. The goal of this study is to create a global map of the orientations of mountain chains on Titan in order to identify the sources of tectonic mechanism.

The maps used in this research were constructed with ArcGIS using a low resolution cylindrical base map raster, layered with higher resolution Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) images and Cassini RADAR swaths from the T3 through T69 flybys. We use RADAR imagery to first map Titan's mountain chains; identifying topographically high surface features by a bright-dark pairing and identifying only mountain chains which are inferred to have been formed through endogenic processes. We then used the data obtained within ArcGIS to construct rose diagrams for mountain chain orientations which were then analyzed and compared with stress models. Lastly, we interpret the geophysical implications of the mountain chains and their orientations in order to present a higher-order picture of tectonism on Titan.


External link: GSA database



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