Coasts and drowned mountains on Titan

Coasts and drowned mountains on Titan

23 May 2007

Cassini completed its 31st flyby of Saturn's moon Titan On 12 May 2007. The RADAR instrument obtained this image showing the coastline and an archipelago in a portion of a large sea, consistent with the larger sea seen by the Cassini imaging instrument.

Like other liquid bodies seen on Titan, this feature reveals channels, islands, bays, and other features typical of terrestrial coastlines and the liquid, most likely a combination of methane and ethane, appears very dark in radar. What is striking about this portion of the sea compared to other liquid bodies on Titan is the relative absence of brighter regions within it, suggesting that the depth of the liquid here exceeds tens of metres.

Of particular note is the presence of isolated islands, which follow the same direction as the peninsula to their lower right, suggesting that they may be part of a mountain ridgeline that has been flooded. This is analogous to, for example, Catalina Island off the coast of southern California.

The image as shown is about 160 kilometres by 270 kilometres at a 300 - metre resolution. The image is centred at 70° North and 50° East.

Notes for editors:

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency.

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