Friday, April 08, 2016

Geological and Composition of Tethys

Cassini's geological and compositional view of Tethys


Stephan et al


The Saturnian satellite Tethys exhibits geological and spectral properties, whose appearance, nature and spatial distribution partly mirror those identified on the neighboring satellites Dione and Rhea or fit to the picture how spectral surface properties are expected to change from one satellite to the other within the inner Saturnian system. However, we also identified spectral variations that are unique in the Saturnian system. Whereas geologically young surface features are characterized by pure H2O–ice composition with relatively large particles, which match the particle sizes measured for fresh surface features also on Dione and Rhea, geologically old weathered regions are dominated by submicron-sized ice particles. Our investigations confirm that the Odysseus impact event did not cause the formation of Tethys’ extended graben system Ithaca Chasma. On the contrary, Odysseus might be responsible for the N–S trending ‘icy’ bands that mark Tethys’ surface in the center of its leading and trailing hemisphere.

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