Planetary Astronomy Late-morning Seminar for 2018-03-29

Series: Planetary Astronomy Late-morning Seminar
Date: Thursday 29-Mar-2018
Time: 12:30-13:00
Location: CSS 1250
Speaker: Sam Birch (Cornell)
Title: Investigating the Morphology and Topography of Titan's Polar Lacustrine Features

Saturn's largest moon Titan is the second known solar system body on which standing bodies of liquid are maintained, the first being Earth. Under Titan's current climatic conditions, stable surface liquids are restricted to the polar regions. There, liquids pond within two distinct types of depressions: open basins, and sharp-edged depressions (SEDs). However, modern liquid bodies are largely restricted to North polar latitudes with a comparatively small volume of liquid in the southern hemisphere. This dichotomy has previously been attributed to Saturn's current orbital configuration, but if correct, the configuration is transient and southern depositional basins equivalent in volume to the northern seas are required. In the South polar region, we have identified four dry broad depressions, equivalent in area to the northern seas. I will detail the morphologic and topographic data that suggest that these features represent paleoseas that were filled during an earlier epoch, more favorable to the accumulation of southern liquids. I will also detail work we have done to understand the formation of Titan’s SEDs, karst-like features traditionally thought to form via dissolution of a soluble substrate. Specifically, I will detail the topographic and image data that together have revealed the presence of hundred-meter high raised rims around the perimeters of most these features. The presence of these rims defy explanation and add serious complications that cannot be explained by dissolution erosion alone.

For further information contact PALS coordinator Dr. Matthew Knight at or (301)-405-2629.


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

This page was automatically generated on: 08-Mar-2018.