The surface of Titan has been revealed globally, if incompletely, by Cassini observations at infrared and radar wavelengths as well as locally by the instruments on the Huygens probe. Extended dune fields, lakes, mountainous terrain, dendritic erosion patterns and erosional remnants indicate dynamic surface processes. Valleys, small-scale gullies and rounded cobbles such as those observed at the Huygens landing site require erosion by energetic flow of a liquid. There is strong evidence that liquid hydrocarbons are ponded on the surface in high-latitude lakes, predominantly, but not exclusively, at high northern latitudes. A variety of features including extensive flows and caldera-like constructs are interpreted to be cryovolcanic in origin. Chains and isolated blocks of rugged terrain rising from smoother areas are best described as mountains and might be related to tectonic processes. Finally, impact craters are observed but their small numbers indicate that the crater retention age is very young overall. In general, Titan exhibits a geologically active surface indicating significant endogenic and exogenic processes, with diverse geophysical and atmospheric processes reminiscent of those on Earth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)