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Waspie_Dwarf

Cryovolcanism on Titan

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Changes in Titan's Surface Brightness Point to Cryovolcanism

Changes in surface brightness on Titan observed over four years by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have added to evidence that cryovolcanism is active on Saturn’s largest Moon. Anezina Solomonidou has presented results at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2013 in London. The authors compared many volcanic-like features, such as flows, calderas and craters, with similar geological features found on the Earth to study the possibility of cryovolcanic activity within regions observed close to Titan’s equator.

Titan has an atmosphere rich in organic carbon-based compounds and astronomers believe that beneath its icy surface there is an ocean of liquid water, possibly mixed with ammonia. The low number of impact craters seen on Titan suggests that the surface is relatively young and is therefore dynamic and active. Titan has clouds and rains of liquid methane that mimic Earth’s water cycle. Its landscape is remarkably Earth-like with dunes and lakes, erosion due to weathering and tectonic-like features.

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It's worth noting, I think, how we go to such extremes to note similarities, when obviously the two systems have to be markedly different. I guess it just goes to show how self-oriented we are.

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I guess it just goes to show how self-oriented we are.

Not at all.

Volcanoes and cryovolcanoes have been discovered on other worlds. There are features on Mars which similar to shield volcanoes on Earth and the reason they are similar is because they ARE volcanic in origin.

Likewise volcanoes have been studied on Io and cryovolcanism has been observed on Triton and Encealadus.

Linking these structures on Titan to cryovolcanism has nothing to do with some modern day geocentricism and everything to do with deductive reasoning and logic.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Geocentrism is a good word for that -- thanks. I did a quick check and find the word "geocentricism," but that seems weird and geocentrism makes it better.

I think we have a tendency to compare everything to what we find on the earth, and that that distorts the science in favor of popular understanding, and has the subtle effect of misleading some people into imagining things not so different from the earth.

We saw for example one participant on these boards strongly arguing for earth-like life on Titan, seemingly unaware of the temperature difference and denying, using the argument that they have rain there for support.

That phenomena analogous to Terran volcanoes and to Terran weather exist is perhaps true, but misleading. I suspect that once we are there and see the events in detail, that they will turn out to be different -- beyond just the temperature difference and the fact that different substances are involved.

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If Titan's subsurface ocean contained life, volcanic action might bring it to the surface where it could be examined by a lander probe in the appropriate area. The same is true of Ecleladus, except that since the interior water is spewed out into space, life, if any is present, might be detectable by an orbiting probe.

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