thumbnail

Impact craters on Titan

Icarus

By:
, , , , ,
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.08.021

Links

Abstract

Five certain impact craters and 44 additional nearly certain and probable ones have been identified on the 22% of Titan's surface imaged by Cassini's high-resolution radar through December 2007. The certain craters have morphologies similar to impact craters on rocky planets, as well as two with radar bright, jagged rims. The less certain craters often appear to be eroded versions of the certain ones. Titan's craters are modified by a variety of processes including fluvial erosion, mass wasting, burial by dunes and submergence in seas, but there is no compelling evidence of isostatic adjustments as on other icy moons, nor draping by thick atmospheric deposits. The paucity of craters implies that Titan's surface is quite young, but the modeled age depends on which published crater production rate is assumed. Using the model of Artemieva and Lunine (2005) suggests that craters with diameters smaller than about 35 km are younger than 200 million years old, and larger craters are older. Craters are not distributed uniformly; Xanadu has a crater density 2-9 times greater than the rest of Titan, and the density on equatorial dune areas is much lower than average. There is a small excess of craters on the leading hemisphere, and craters are deficient in the north polar region compared to the rest of the world. The youthful age of Titan overall, and the various erosional states of its likely impact craters, demonstrate that dynamic processes have destroyed most of the early history of the moon, and that multiple processes continue to strongly modify its surface. The existence of 24 possible impact craters with diameters less than 20 km appears consistent with the Ivanov, Basilevsky and Neukum (1997) model of the effectiveness of Titan's atmosphere in destroying most but not all small projectiles. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Impact craters on Titan
Series title:
Icarus
DOI:
10.1016/j.icarus.2009.08.021
Volume
206
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
334
Last page:
344
Number of Pages:
11