Titan's enigmatic Xanadu province has been seen in some detail with instruments from the Cassini spacecraft. The region contains some of the most rugged, mountainous terrain on Titan, with relief over 2000. m. Xanadu contains evolved and integrated river channels, impact craters, and dry basins filled with smooth, radar-dark material, perhaps sediments from past lake beds. Arcuate and aligned mountain chains give evidence of compressional tectonism, yet the overall elevation of Xanadu is puzzlingly low compared to surrounding sand seas. Lineations associated with mountain fronts and valley floors give evidence of extension that probably contributed to this regional lowering. Several locations on Xanadu's western and southern margins contain flow-like features that may be cryovolcanic in origin, perhaps ascended from lithospheric faults related to regional downdropping late in its history. Radiometry and scatterometry observations are consistent with a water-ice or water-ammonia-ice composition to its exposed, eroded, fractured bedrock; both microwave and visible to near-infrared (v-nIR) data indicate a thin overcoating of organics, likely derived from the atmosphere. We suggest Xanadu is one of the oldest terrains on Titan and that its origin and evolution have been controlled and shaped by compressional and then extensional tectonism in the icy crust and ongoing erosion by methane rainfall. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Regional geomorphology and history of Titan's Xanadu province

Mitri G.;
2011

Abstract

Titan's enigmatic Xanadu province has been seen in some detail with instruments from the Cassini spacecraft. The region contains some of the most rugged, mountainous terrain on Titan, with relief over 2000. m. Xanadu contains evolved and integrated river channels, impact craters, and dry basins filled with smooth, radar-dark material, perhaps sediments from past lake beds. Arcuate and aligned mountain chains give evidence of compressional tectonism, yet the overall elevation of Xanadu is puzzlingly low compared to surrounding sand seas. Lineations associated with mountain fronts and valley floors give evidence of extension that probably contributed to this regional lowering. Several locations on Xanadu's western and southern margins contain flow-like features that may be cryovolcanic in origin, perhaps ascended from lithospheric faults related to regional downdropping late in its history. Radiometry and scatterometry observations are consistent with a water-ice or water-ammonia-ice composition to its exposed, eroded, fractured bedrock; both microwave and visible to near-infrared (v-nIR) data indicate a thin overcoating of organics, likely derived from the atmosphere. We suggest Xanadu is one of the oldest terrains on Titan and that its origin and evolution have been controlled and shaped by compressional and then extensional tectonism in the icy crust and ongoing erosion by methane rainfall. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/713195
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