Titanean maria (large hydrocarbon seas) are named after sea monsters in world mythology. A number of large, smooth (and thus dark to radar) patches were seen dotting the surface near the pole. Blue coloring indicates low radar reflectivity areas, caused by bodies of liquid ethane, methane and dissolved nitrogen. Natural color visible-near infrared view of Titan showing its north polar seas and lakes at upper left. Titan's north polar lakes appear to have been stable for at least one Titanean season (seven Earth years). Titan's clouds, probably composed of methane, ethane, or other simple organics, are scattered and variable, punctuating the overall haze.. Minnesota is called the land of 10,000 lakes for good reason: There are natural pools of water everywhere. [7] Channels in some regions have created surprisingly little erosion, suggesting erosion on Titan is extremely slow, or some other recent phenomena may have wiped out older riverbeds and landforms. [9] Following a flyby on July 22, 2006, in which the Cassini spacecraft's radar imaged the northern latitudes, which were at the time in winter. [25] Solid methane is denser than liquid methane so it will eventually sink. evaporation temperature molecule kinetic energy freezing energy Dr. Flores would like an update on your research about what happened to the lake on Titan. This might account for the equatorial region's relative dryness. Bodies of liquid hydrocarbons are outlined in red; the blue outline indicates a body that appeared during the 2004-2005 interval. The excess benzene would then build up in a mud-like sludge on the shores and on the lake floors before eventually being eroded by ethane rain, forming a complex cave-riddled landscape. [20] The exact blend of hydrocarbons in the lakes is unknown. Jingpo Lacus is just above Kraken Mare, and Bolsena Lacus is directly above it. Saturn's largest moon Titan has a tropical lake the size of Utah's Great Salt Lake in the United States. The dry lakes have margins or rims and a radar brightness similar to the rest of the surrounding terrain, making them appear devoid of liquid. It is expected that evaporation is too slow for the process - the liquid must have gone elsewhere. For more information on this finding and the lakes, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassiniscienceleague/science20130412/ . New evidence suggests otherwise. Features labeled sinus are bays within the lakes or seas. A variety of formation mechanisms have been proposed. [30][31][32] Post-Cassini analysis of VIMS data suggests tidal currents may also be responsible for the generation of persistent waves in narrow channels (Freta) of Kraken Mare. [18] It has been estimated that the visible lakes and seas of Titan contain about 300 times the volume of Earth's proven oil reserves. No waves were initially detected by Cassini as the northern lakes emerged from winter darkness (calculations indicate wind speeds of less than 1 meter per second (2.2 MPH) should whip up detectable waves in Titan's ethane lakes but none were observed). The results call into question the early summer's classification as the beginning of the Titan's windy season, because high winds probably would have made for larger waves. Bubble outburst events are predicted to occur as the lakes cool and subsequently warm or whenever methane-rich fluids mix with ethane-rich ones due to heavy rainfall. Scientists think methane is at the heart of a cycle at Titan that is somewhat similar to the role of water in Earth's hydrological cycle - causing rain, carving channels and evaporating from lakes. Scientists have long thought that liquid-rich lands such as Minnesota are unique to planet Earth. The data showed Titan to have a thick atmosphere of approximately the correct temperature and composition to support them. When the probe arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, it was hoped that hydrocarbon lakes or oceans might be detectable by reflected sunlight from the surface of any liquid bodies, but no specular reflections were initially observed. Ligeia Mare is the large body at lower right. on Titan, they represent their thinking using the modeling tool. Minnesota is called the land of 10,000 lakes for good reason: There are natural pools of water everywhere. http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassiniscienceleague/science20130412/. This instrument identifies chemically different materials based on the way they absorb and reflect infrared light. The result, scientists found, is that winter ice will float in Titan’s methane-and-ethane-rich lakes and seas if the temperature is below the freezing point of … The liquid in Titan’s lakes isn’t water, … The explosions are proposed to result from fluctuations in climate, which lead to pockets of liquid nitrogen accumulating within the crust during colder periods and then exploding when warming caused the nitrogen to rapidly expand as it shifted to a gas state. It is roughly 234 kilometers long by 73 kilometers wide, about the size of Lake Ontario (a lake on the U.S.-Canadian However, recent Cassini observations (from 2013) suggest geology may also explain the geographic distribution of the lakes and other surface features. Scientists studying the infrared pictures decided that one or more of the large lakes in the pictures of Saturn's moon Titan does hold liquid and that the liquid is made of hydrocarbons. Did the lake on Titan evaporate or freeze? High-resolution false-color Cassini synthetic aperture radar mosaic of Titan's north polar region, showing hydrocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks. [35], On 21 December 2008, Cassini passed directly over Ontario Lacus at an altitude of 1900 km (1,180 mi) and was able to observe specular reflection in radar observations. Titan is the only other place in the solar system besides Earth that has stable liquid on its surface. [7] In Titan's south polar region, an enigmatic dark feature named Ontario Lacus was the first suspected lake identified, possibly created by clouds that are observed to cluster in the area. Punga Mare is just left of center. On Titan, the feeble sunlight allows only about one centimeter of evaporation per year (versus one meter of water on Earth), but the atmosphere can hold the equivalent of about 10 meters (28') of liquid before rain forms (versus about 2 cm [25/32"] on Earth). The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Over time, the moon should have built up an ethane ocean hundreds of meters (1,500'-2,500') deep instead of only a handful of polar lakes. The ice is predicted to rise to the surface again at the onset of spring before melting. The study of the lakes also led scientists to spot a few new ones in images from Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer data in June 2010. The evaporation of methane from Titan’s lakes may be one such source, and Chevrier’s data should help say whether it is enough. After you clearly state your … [28][29] Bubble outburst events may also influence the formation of Titan's river deltas. Methane tends to evaporate quickly, so scientists think the lakes must be dominated by methane's sister hydrocarbon ethane, which evaporates more slowly. ( (slightly larger than Lake Michigan–Huron, the largest freshwater lake on Earth), and another, Kraken Mare, that would later prove to be three times that size. The model also apparently explains why there are more lakes in the northern hemisphere. The lakes found here have very distinctive shapes—rounded complex silhouettes and steep sides—suggesting deformation of the crust created fissures that could be filled up with liquid. A possibility is that the formation of materials called clathrates changes the chemical composition of the rainfall runoff that charges the subsurface hydrocarbon "aquifers." Cassini view of Titan's north polar seas and lakes in the near infrared. According to a computer model, 3/4 of an average polar lake is ethane, with 10 percent methane, 7 percent propane and smaller amounts of hydrogen cyanide, butane, nitrogen and argon. [33] However, a 2017 analysis of Cassini data from 2007-2015 indicates waves across these three seas were diminutive, reaching only ~1 centimeter (25/64") high and 20 centimeters (8") long. The huge lake is filled with liquid methane and tucked in Titan's sand dunes. It is possible that the methane ice could float for a time as it probably contains bubbles of nitrogen gas from Titan's atmosphere. [36][37], On 8 July 2009, Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) observed a specular reflection in 5 µm infrared light off a northern hemisphere body of liquid at 71° N, 337° W. This has been described as at the southern shoreline of Kraken Mare,[38] but on a combined radar-VIMS image the location is shown as a separate lake (later named Jingpo Lacus). [14], During a Cassini flyby in late February 2007, radar and camera observations revealed several large features in the north polar region interpreted as large expanses of liquid methane and/or ethane, including one, Ligeia Mare, with an area of 126,000 km2 (48,649 sq. The lakes of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, are bodies of liquid ethane and methane that have been detected by the Cassini–Huygens space probe, and had been suspected long before. The explanations range from the collapse of land after a cryovolcanic eruption to karst terrain, where liquids dissolve soluble ice. Scientists have long thought that liquid-rich lands such as Minnesota are unique to planet Earth.