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Evidence of Titan’s climate history from evaporite distribution

Abstract : Water–ice-poor, 5-μm-bright material on Saturn’s moon Titan has previously been geomorphologically identified as evaporitic. Here we present a global distribution of the occurrences of the 5-μm-bright spectral unit, identified with Cassini’s Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) and examined with RADAR when possible. We explore the possibility that each of these occurrences are evaporite deposits. The 5-μm-bright material covers 1% of Titan’s surface and is not limited to the poles (the only regions with extensive, long-lived surface liquid). We find the greatest areal concentration to be in the equatorial basins Tui Regio and Hotei Regio. Our interpretations, based on the correlation between 5-μm-bright material and lakebeds, imply that there was enough liquid present at some time to create the observed 5-μm-bright material. We address the climate implications surrounding a lack of evaporitic material at the south polar basins: if the south pole basins were filled at some point in the past, then where is the evaporite?
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 10:19:30 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 3:53:13 AM

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Shannon Mackenzie, Jason Barnes, Christophe Sotin, Jason Soderblom, Stéphane Le Mouélic, et al.. Evidence of Titan’s climate history from evaporite distribution. Icarus, Elsevier, 2014, 243, pp.191-207. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2014.08.022⟩. ⟨hal-03702504⟩

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