Dynamics of an ice continent on Titan

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Abstract

[1] If the large, high-albedo surface feature on Titan's leading hemisphere is an elevated “continent” composed mainly of water ice, it will deform under its own weight. We present a model for the axisymmetric spreading of this hypothesized continent based on the similarity solution of Halfar [1983] and the approach of Nye [2000]. We find that the thickness of the model continent is dictated by the spreading time, whereas topographic relief is controlled primarily by isostatic effects. For a mantle density of 1000 kg m−3, the relief of an isostatically supported continent on Titan is not likely to exceed ∼3–7 km.

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