Title

The Lakes and Seas of Titan

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Publication Date

January 2016

Abstract

Analogous to Earth's water cycle, Titan's methane-based hydrologic cycle supports standing bodies of liquid and drives processes that result in common morphologic features including dunes, channels, lakes, and seas. Like lakes on Earth and early Mars, Titan's lakes and seas preserve a record of its climate and surface evolution. Unlike on Earth, the volume of liquid exposed on Titan's surface is only a small fraction of the atmospheric reservoir. The volume and bulk composition of the seas can constrain the age and nature of atmospheric methane, as well as its interaction with surface reservoirs. Similarly, the morphology of lacustrine basins chronicles the history of the polar landscape over multiple temporal and spatial scales. The distribution of trace species, such as noble gases and higher-order hydrocarbons and nitriles, can address Titan's origin and the potential for both prebiotic and biotic processes. Accordingly, Titan's lakes and seas represent a compelling target for exploration.

Notes

Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 44 (2016).

Keywords

Cassini, Saturn, Icy Satellites, Hydrology, Hydrocarbons, Climate

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RDA

Subject: topical

Cassini; Saturn; Icy Satellites; Hydrology; Hydrocarbons; Climate

Type

Article

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serial

Identifier

SFS0072399_00001

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