Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changes in Saturn's moon Titan’s surface brightness point to cryovolcanism

Date:
September 13, 2013
Source:
Europlanet Media Centre
Summary:
Changes in surface brightness on Titan observed over four years by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have added to evidence that cryovolcanism is active on Saturn’s largest Moon. Astronomers compared many volcanic-like features, such as flows, calderas and craters, with similar geological features found on Earth to study the possibility of cryovolcanic activity within regions observed close to Titan’s equator.

Top: Cryovolcanic candidate ‘Sotra Patera’ on Titan has a deep crater (1km) and a significantly high mountain. Bottom: The Kirishima volcano in Japan, a terrestrial analogue.
Credit: Image credit: Top: NASA/JPL Caltech/USGS/University of Arizona. Bottom: USGS

Changes in surface brightness on Titan observed over four years by NASA's Cassini spacecraft have added to evidence that cryovolcanism is active on Saturn's largest Moon. Anezina Solomonidou has presented results at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2013 in London. The authors compared many volcanic-like features, such as flows, calderas and craters, with similar geological features found on Earth to study the possibility of cryovolcanic activity within regions observed close to Titan's equator.

Related Articles


Titan has an atmosphere rich in organic carbon-based compounds and astronomers believe that beneath its icy surface there is an ocean of liquid water, possibly mixed with ammonia. The low number of impact craters seen on Titan suggests that the surface is relatively young and is therefore dynamic and active. Titan has clouds and rains of liquid methane that mimic Earth's water cycle. Its landscape is remarkably Earth-like with dunes and lakes, erosion due to weathering and tectonic-like features.

"All of these features, plus a need for a methane reservoir and volcanic activity to replenish the methane in the atmosphere, is compatible with the theory of active cryovolcanism on Titan," explained Solomonidou, of the Observatoire de Paris and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Solomonidou and colleagues investigated the potentially cryogenic regions of Tui Regio, Hotei Regio and Sotra Patera using Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS).

"We were able to penetrate the atmosphere with VIMS and view any changes in these surface features. Interestingly, the albedo (brightness) of two of the areas has changed with time," explained Solomonidou. "Tui Regio got darker from 2005 to 2009 and Sotra Patera -- the most favourable cryovolcanic candidate on Titan -- got brighter between 2005 and 2006."

Surface variations, together with spectral albedo properties and the presence of volcanic-like features, suggest that these cryovolcanic candidate regions are connected to Titan's deep liquid ocean.

"These results have important implications for Titan's potential to support life as these cryovolcanic areas might contain environments that could harbour conditions favourable for life," said Solomonidou.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Europlanet Media Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Europlanet Media Centre. "Changes in Saturn's moon Titan’s surface brightness point to cryovolcanism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913124129.htm>.
Europlanet Media Centre. (2013, September 13). Changes in Saturn's moon Titan’s surface brightness point to cryovolcanism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913124129.htm
Europlanet Media Centre. "Changes in Saturn's moon Titan’s surface brightness point to cryovolcanism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913124129.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) NASA&apos;s Opportunity Mars Rover finished a full marathon, making it the first human creation to do a full 26.2 miles on another planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

AP (Mar. 23, 2015) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year aboard the International Space Station in an experiment to test human endurance in space, while his twin brother&apos;s health is compared on Earth. (March 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins