Publication Abstracts

Aharonson et al. 2009

Aharonson, O., A.G. Hayes, J.I. Lunine, R.D. Lorenz, M.D. Allison, and C. Elachi, 2009: An asymmetric distribution of lakes on Titan as a possible consequence of orbital forcing. Nature Geosci., 2, 851-854, doi:10.1038/NGEO698.

A set of lakes filled or partially filled with liquid hydrocarbon and empty lake basins have been discovered in the high latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan. These features were mapped by the radar instrument on the Cassini orbiter. Here we quantify the distribution of the lakes and basins, and show a pronounced hemispheric asymmetry in their occurrence. Whereas significant fractions of the northern high latitudes are covered by filled and empty lakes, the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere are largely devoid of such features. We propose that in addition to known seasonal changes, the observed difference in lake distribution may be caused by an asymmetry in the seasons on Titan that results from the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit around the Sun. We suggest that the consequent hemispheric difference in the balance between evaporation and precipitation could lead to an accumulation of lakes in one of Titan's hemispheres. This effect would be modulated by, and reverse with, dynamical variations in the orbit. We propose that much like in the Earth's glacial cycles, the resulting vigorous hydrologic cycle has a period of tens of thousands of years and leads to active geologic surface modification in the polar latitudes.

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BibTeX Citation

@article{ah01000b,
  author={Aharonson, O. and Hayes, A. G. and Lunine, J. I. and Lorenz, R. D. and Allison, M. D. and Elachi, C.},
  title={An asymmetric distribution of lakes on Titan as a possible consequence of orbital forcing},
  year={2009},
  journal={Nature Geosci.},
  volume={2},
  pages={851--854},
  doi={10.1038/NGEO698},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - ah01000b
AU  - Aharonson, O.
AU  - Hayes, A. G.
AU  - Lunine, J. I.
AU  - Lorenz, R. D.
AU  - Allison, M. D.
AU  - Elachi, C.
PY  - 2009
TI  - An asymmetric distribution of lakes on Titan as a possible consequence of orbital forcing
JA  - Nature Geosci.
VL  - 2
SP  - 851
EP  - 854
DO  - 10.1038/NGEO698
ER  -

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