Titan's prevailing circulation might drive highly intermittent, yet significant sediment transport

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL097913. This is version 2 of this Preprint.


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Francesco Comola , Jasper F Kok , Juan M Lora , Kaylie Cohanim, Xinting Yu , Chao He , Patricia McGuiggan, Sarah M Hörst , Francis Turney


Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is characterized by gigantic linear dunes and an active dust cycle. Much like on Earth, these aeolian processes are caused by the wind-driven saltation of surface grains. It is still unclear, however, how saltation on Titan can occur despite the typically weak surface winds and the potentially cohesive surface grains. Here, we explore the hypothesis that saltation on Titan may be sustained at lower wind speeds than previously thought, primarily through granular splash rather than aerodynamic lifting of surface grains. We propose a saltation mass flux parameterization for Titan and use it to quantify sediment transport with a general circulation model. The results suggest that Titan's prevailing circulation can generate highly intermittent yet significant saltation, with mass fluxes of the order of 10^4 kg m^-1 year^-1, and that Titan dunes may be formed primarily by fine grains, approximately 0.1 mm in size.




Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Sciences


Titan, Saltation


Published: 2021-03-25 16:17

Last Updated: 2022-04-02 15:18

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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