Linear dunes are one of the most abundant and important features on the surface of Titan. We present a model for estimating the volume of dune sediment using the area coverage of Titan's sand seas along with dune widths, spacings, and heights. This helps to reveal local sediment transport and deposition. We refine global dune area estimates from Cassini SAR (Synthetic Aperture RADAR) of 20 million km2 or 24 ± 3% of Titan's surface based on ~50% Cassini RADAR global coverage. Additionally, the global area of sand seas is estimated from a joint analysis of Cassini SAR and ISS (Imaging Science Subsystem) images of 12.8 ± 2 million km2 or 15.4 ± 2.4% of Titan's surface. Also, we provide the first area measurements by sand sea, then describe a new method for estimation of the volume of dune sands across the sand seas based on imagery and measured dune characteristics (i.e., width, spacing, profile, and height) on Titan and in Earth's Namib Sand Sea. Our volume thickness map shows sand sea volumes of 3.8--7.9 x 104 km3 in Senkyo, 6.1--12.7 x 104 km3 in Belet, 5.3--11.0 x 104 km3 in Shangri-La, and also 5.3--11.0 x 104 km3 in Fensal and Aztlan Sand Seas. Our estimate for global dune sand volume is 206,000 km3 - 427,000 km3. The volume map identifies regional changes in sediment thickness implying local variations in transport and deposition and spatial variations in wind strength and direction. We show that dunes might be isolated to equatorial regions because of wind strength, topography, sediment supply, and humidity. Our preliminary map can be used as a tool to understand sediment transport and deposition to explain spatial variations in eolian sediment volume on Titan.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Arnold, Karl D., "Sand Sea Extents and Sediment Volumes on Titan from Dune Parameters" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 4112.
Titan, linear dunes, sand seas, sediment volume, Cassini, RADAR, ISS