Master of Science
Planetary Science and Exploration
Neish, Catherine D.
Impact craters on Titan are relatively scarce, but provide ample information about the subsurface properties and modification processes present there. This study utilizes impact craters to examine compositional variations across Titan’s surface and their subsequent modification. Fifteen craters and their ejecta blankets were studied. Subsurface composition was inferred from emissivity data from Cassini’s RADAR instrument, and surficial composition from Cassini’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Results show subsurface composition of these craters is controlled by their degradation state and local environment. Older craters are more infilled with organics than younger, and dunes craters show more organic enrichment than plains craters. Surficial composition is only controlled by the local environment (i.e. dunes or plains regions). Since degraded craters show organic rich subsurfaces, but varying surface compositions, it is likely there is an active surface process clearing the surface of sediments and infilling the craters’ subsurface fractures.
Werynski, Alyssa, "Compositional Variations of Titan's Impact Craters Indicates Active Surface Erosion" (2018). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 5585.