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Texture and composition of Titan's equatorial region inferred from Cassini SAR inversion: Implications for aeolian transport at Saturn's largest moon

By Antoine Lucas, Sébastien Rodriguez, Florentin Lemonnier, Alice Le Gall, Cécile Ferrari, Philippe Paillou and Clément Narteau


International audienceSand seas on Titan may reflect the present and past climatic conditions. Understanding the morphodynamics and physico-chemical properties of Titan's dunes is therefore essential for a better comprehension of the climatic and geological history of the largest Saturn's moon. We derived quantitatively surface properties (texture, composition) from the modelling of microwave backscattered signal and Monte-Carlo inversion of despeckled Cassini/SAR data over sand sea. We show that dunes and interdunes have significantly different physical properties. Dunes are globally more microwave absorbent than the interdunes. The inter-dunes present multi-scale roughness with a higher dielectric constant than the dunes. Considering the composition, the interdunes are in between the dunes and the radar bright inselbergs, suggesting the presence of a shallow layer of non-mobilized sediment in between the dunes. Additionally potential secondary bedforms, such as ripples and avalanches, may have been detected. Our findings strongly suggest that sand seas evolve under current multi-directional wind regimes. Consequently sediment inventory and climatic conditions are being re-evaluated

Topics: Bayesian inference, climate, microwave, Titan, sand seas, sediment transport, [ SDU.ASTR.EP ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Astrophysics [astro-ph]/Earth and Planetary Astrophysics [astro-ph.EP]
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2018
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-01467037v1
Provided by: Hal-Diderot
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