Hypsometry of Titan

By: , and 



Cassini RADAR topography data are used to evaluate Titan’s hypsometric profile, and to make comparisons with other planetary bodies. Titan’s hypsogram is unimodal and strikingly narrow compared with the terrestrial planets. To investigate topographic extremes, a novel variant on the classic hypsogram is introduced, with a logarithmic abscissa to highlight mountainous terrain. In such a plot, the top of the terrestrial hypsogram is quite distinct from those of Mars and Venus due to the ‘glacial buzz-saw’ that clips terrestrial topography above the snowline. In contrast to the positive skew seen in other hypsograms, with a long tail of positive relief due to mountains, there is an indication (weak, given the limited data for Titan so far) that the Titan hypsogram appears slightly negatively skewed, suggesting a significant population of unfilled depressions. Limited data permit only a simplistic comparison of Titan topography with other icy satellites but we find that the standard deviation of terrain height (albeit at different scales) is similar to those of Ganymede and Europa.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hypsometry of Titan
Series title Icarus
DOI 10.1016/j.icarus.2010.10.002
Volume 211
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 699
Last page 706
Other Geospatial Titan
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details