Fluvial network analysis on Titan: Evidence for subsurface structures and west-to-east wind flow, southwestern Xanadu

Devon M. Burr, Robert E. Jacobsen, Danica L. Roth, Cynthia B. Phillips, Karl L. Mitchell, Donna Viola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Data of Titan's surface from the Cassini-Huygens mission show inferred fluvial networks interpreted as products of liquid alkane flow. Using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, we delineated drainage networks, measured network parameters, and used these measurements in a simplified algorithm for classifying terrestrial drainage patterns. The results show a variety of patterns, indicating that a variety of factors control fluvial drainage on Titan. Drainage network patterns in southwestern Xanadu are classified as rectangular, suggesting control by a subsurface tectonic structural fabric. Link orientations also suggest that this subsurface tectonic fabric is oriented predominantly eastwest. Spatial variations in drainage networks are consistent with a west-to-east precipitation pattern, supporting inferences from aeolian dune morphology. These results illustrate how fluvial landform analysis can yield new information on both atmospheric and subsurface processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL22203
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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