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The bathymetry of a Titan sea

The bathymetry of a Titan sea

Publication date: 16 March 2014

Authors: Mastrogiuseppe, M., et al.

Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 41
Issue: 5
Page: 1432-1437
Year: 2014

Copyright: © 2014 American Geophysical Union

We construct the depth profile – the bathymetry – of Titan's large sea Ligeia Mare from Cassini RADAR data collected during the 23 May 2013 (T91) nadir-looking altimetry flyby. We find the greatest depth to be about 160 m and a seabed slope that is gentler toward the northern shore, consistent with previously imaged shoreline morphologies. Low radio signal attenuation through the sea demonstrates that the liquid, for which we determine a loss tangent of 3 ± 1∙10−5, is remarkably transparent, requiring a nearly pure methane-ethane composition, and further that microwave absorbing hydrocarbons, nitriles, and suspended particles be limited to less than the order of 0.1% of the liquid volume. Presence of nitrogen in the ethane-methane sea, expected based on its solubility and dominance in the atmosphere, is consistent with the low attenuation, but that of substantial dissolved polar species or suspended scatterers is not.

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