Space & Astronomy
Saturn's moon Titan has its own sea level
By T.K. Randall
January 19, 2018 · 5 comments
Titan and the Earth share many similarities. Image Credit: NASA
Just like the oceans here on Earth, Titan's hydrocarbon seas and lakes lie at an average elevation.
Titan is a place that, on the outset, appears to possess many things that seem uncannily familiar - oceans, rivers, snow-capped mountains and even an active weather system.
Take a closer look however and it soon becomes apparent that Titan couldn't be more alien. Its rivers and oceans aren't filled with liquid water but with an exotic form of liquid hydrocarbons, while its snow-capped peaks are actually dusted with a coating of methane, not water ice.
Now two new studies by scientists at Cornell University have revealed something else that this enigmatic world shares with our own planet - a constant sea level.
The research, which involved creating a topographic map of Titan, showed that, like the Earth, the Saturnian moon's oceans and lakes follow a constant elevation relative to its gravitational pull.
"The new study suggests that elevation is important because Titan's liquid bodies appear to be connected under the surface in something akin to an aquifer system," NASA wrote.
"Hydrocarbons appear to be flowing underneath Titan's surface similar to the way water flows through underground porous rock or gravel on Earth, so that nearby lakes communicate with each other and share a common liquid level."
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