Fluvial channels on Titan: Initial Cassini RADAR observations

Planetary and Space Science
By: , and 



Cassini radar images show a variety of fluvial channels on Titan's surface, often several hundreds of kilometers in length. Some (predominantly at low- and mid-latitude) are radar-bright and braided, resembling desert washes where fines have been removed by energetic surface liquid flow, presumably from methane rainstorms. Others (predominantly at high latitudes) are radar-dark and meandering and drain into or connect polar lakes, suggesting slower-moving flow depositing fine-grained sediments. A third type, seen predominantly at mid- and high latitudes, have radar brightness patterns indicating topographic incision, with valley widths of up to 3 km across and depth of several hundred meters. These observations show that fluvial activity occurs at least occasionally at all latitudes, not only at the Huygens landing site, and can produce channels much larger in scale than those observed there. The areas in which channels are prominent so far amount to about 1% of Titan's surface, of which only a fraction is actually occupied by channels. The corresponding global sediment volume inferred is not enough to account for the extensive sand seas. Channels observed so far have a consistent large-scale flow pattern, tending to flow polewards and eastwards.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fluvial channels on Titan: Initial Cassini RADAR observations
Series title Planetary and Space Science
DOI 10.1016/j.pss.2008.02.009
Volume 56
Issue 8
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Planetary and Space Science
First page 1132
Last page 1144
Other Geospatial Titan
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