Mountains on Titan: Modeling and observations
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012)
Volume 115, Issue E10, October 2010
How to Cite
2010), Mountains on Titan: Modeling and observations, J. Geophys. Res., 115, E10002, doi:10.1029/2010JE003592., , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 12 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 12 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Received: 24 FEB 2010
 We have developed a thermal model of Titan's interior to study changes in volume during partial freezing or melting of a subsurface ocean due to heat flux variations from the interior. We find that the long-term cooling of Titan can cause global volume contraction ΔV/V ∼0.01. We then simulate two-dimensional contractional deformation of Titan's icy lithosphere, finding that contractional deformation can produce tectonic activity and fold formation. Folds could potentially achieve a topographic height of several kilometers for high local strain (∼0.16), and for high temperature gradients in the ice I shell (order of 10 K km−1), corresponding to an ancient high heat flux from the interior (order of 0.02–0.06 W m−2). Examination of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery obtained by Cassini Radar shows possible evidence of contractional tectonism in the equatorial regions of Titan, although the moderate resolution of the Cassini SAR imagery does not permit an unambiguous geological interpretation.