How erosion formed the Earth-like landscape on Titan, Saturn's moon

December 15, 2009

Titan's ice is stronger than most bedrock found on earth, yet it is more brittle, causing it to erode more easily, according to new research by San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Leonard Sklar. Today, at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting, Sklar and his team presented new measurements from tests on ice as cold as minus 170 degrees Celcius which demonstrate that ice gets stronger as temperature decreases. Understanding ice and its resistance to erosion is critical to answering how Titan's earth-like landscape formed. Titan has lakes, rivers and dunes, but its bedrock is made of ice as cold as minus 180 degrees Celcius, eroded by rivers of liquid methane.
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The full AGU program can be found online at: http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/program/index.php

San Francisco State University

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