Mapping and interpretation of Sinlap crater on Titan using Cassini VIMS and RADAR data

Stéphane Le Mouélic, Philippe Paillou, Michael A. Janssen, Jason W. Barnes, Sébastien Rodriguez, Christophe Sotin, Robert H. Brown, Kevin H. Baines, Bonnie J. Buratti, Roger N. Clark, Marc Crapeau, Pierre J. Encrenaz, Ralf Jaumann, Dirk Geudtner, Flora Paganelli, Laurence Soderblom, Gabriel Tobie, Steve Wall

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Abstract

Only a few impact craters have been unambiguously detected on Titan by the Cassini-Huygens mission. Among these, Sinlap is the only one that has been observed both by the RADAR and VIMS instruments. This paper describes observations at centimeter and infrared wavelengths which provide complementary information about the composition, topography, and surface roughness. Several units appear in VIMS false color composites of band ratios in the Sinlap area, suggesting compositional heterogeneities. A bright pixel possibly related to a central peak does not show significant spectral variations, indicating either that the impact site was vertically homogeneous, or that this area has been recovered by homogeneous deposits. Both VIMS ratio images and dielectric constant measurements suggest the presence of an area enriched in water ice around the main ejecta blanket. Since the Ku-band SAR may see subsurface structures at the meter scale, the difference between infrared and SAR observations can be explained by the presence of a thin layer transparent to the radar. An analogy with terrestrial craters in Libya supports this interpretation. Finally, a tentative model describes the geological history of this area prior, during, and after the impact. It involves mainly the creation of ballistic ejecta and an expanding plume of vapor triggered by the impact, followed by the redeposition of icy spherules recondensed from this vapor plume blown downwind. Subsequent evolution is then driven by erosional processes and aeolian deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE04003
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume113
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2008

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Le Mouélic, S., Paillou, P., Janssen, M. A., Barnes, J. W., Rodriguez, S., Sotin, C., ... Wall, S. (2008). Mapping and interpretation of Sinlap crater on Titan using Cassini VIMS and RADAR data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 113(4), [E04003]. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007JE002965