Status Report

Crater Production On Titan And Surface Chronology

By SpaceRef Editor
February 18, 2022
Filed under , ,

N. L. Rossignoli, R. P. Di Sisto, M. G. Parisi

Impact crater counts on the Saturnian satellites are a key element for estimating their surface ages and placing constraints on their impactor population. The Cassini mission radar observations allowed crater counts to be made on the surface of Titan, revealing an unexpected scarcity of impact craters that show high levels of degradation. Following previous studies on impact cratering rates on the Saturnian satellites, we modeled the cratering process on Titan to constrain its surface chronology and to assess the role of centaur objects as its main impactors. A theoretical model previously developed was used to calculate the crater production on Titan, considering the centaur objects as the main impactors and including two different slopes for the size-frequency distribution (SFD) of the smaller members of their source population. A simple model for the atmospheric shielding effects is considered within the cratering process and our results are then compared with other synthetic crater distributions and updated observational crater counts. This comparison is then used to compute Titan’s crater retention age for each crater diameter. The cumulative crater distribution produced by the SFD with a differential index of s2=3.5 is found to consistently predict large craters (D > 50 km) on the surface of Titan, while it overestimates the number of smaller craters. As both the modeled and observed distributions flatten for craters D?25 km due to atmospheric shielding, the difference between them can be considered as a proxy for the scale to which erosion processes have acted on the surface of Titan throughout the Solar System age. Our results for the surface chronology of Titan indicate that craters with D > 50 km can prevail over the Solar System age, whereas smaller craters may be completely obliterated due to erosion processes acting globally.

Comments: 8 pages, 7 figures; accepted for publication in A&A

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:2202.04712 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2202.04712v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Natalia Rossignoli

[v1] Wed, 9 Feb 2022 20:20:28 UTC (8,548 KB)

SpaceRef staff editor.