A Caltech Library Service

Evolution of Titan's coupled Ocean-Atmosphere system and interaction of ocean with bedrock

Lunine, Jonathan I. and Stevenson, David J. (1985) Evolution of Titan's coupled Ocean-Atmosphere system and interaction of ocean with bedrock. In: Ices in the solar system. NATO ASI series. Series C, Mathematical and physical sciences. No.156. Kluwer Academic , Dordrecht, pp. 741-757. ISBN 9789027720627.

Full text is not posted in this repository.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


A recent model for the surface state of Titan proposes a liquid ethane-methane-molecular nitrogen layer of order one kilometer thick which because of stratospheric methane photolysis has become increasingly ethane-rich with time (1). We explore the interaction of such an ocean with the underlying "bedrock" of Titan (assumed to be water-ice or ammonia hydrate) and with the primarily nitrogen atmosphere. It is concluded that although modest exchange of oceanic hydrocarbons with enclathrated methane in the bedrock can in principle occur, it is unlikely for reasonable regolith depths. The surprisingly high solubility of water ice in liquid methane (2) implies that topographic features on Titan of order 100 meter in height can be eroded away on a time scale ≾10^9 years. The large solubility difference of N_2 in methane versus ethane implies that the ocean composition is a strong determinant of atmospheric pressure; a simple radiative model of the Titan atmosphere is employed to demonstrate that significant surface pressure and temperature changes can occur as the oceanic composition evolves with time.

Item Type:Book Section
Lunine, Jonathan I.0000-0003-2279-4131
Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 1985 D. Reidel Publishing Company. This work was supported by NASA Grant NAGW-185. Contribution number 4057 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125 U.S.A.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4057
Series Name:NATO ASI series. Series C, Mathematical and physical sciences
Issue or Number:156
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130730-152613347
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39662
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Sep 2013 23:40
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

Repository Staff Only: item control page