A Caltech Library Service

D to H ratio and the origin and evolution of Titan's atmosphere

Pinto, Joseph P. and Lunine, Jonathan I. and Kim, Sang-Joon and Yung, Yuk L. (1986) D to H ratio and the origin and evolution of Titan's atmosphere. Nature, 319 (6052). pp. 388-390. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/319388a0.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


A value of 1.7 × 10^(−3) has been reported for the ratio of CH_3D to CH_4 in the stratosphere of the saturnian moon Titan. A lower value of 6 × 10^(−4) for this ratio in the deeper part of Titan's atmosphere was reported by de Bergh et al. For comparison we note that the CH_3D to CH_4 ratio on Saturn and Jupiter is 8.7 × 10^(−5) and 6.7 × 10^(−5), respectively (see Table 1). We estimate the uncertainties in all these observations and data reduction to be about a factor of 2. Despite these uncertainties it appears that Titan's atmosphere is enriched in deuterium by a factor of ≥3 relative to Jupiter and Saturn. Potential causative factors examined here for this enrichment are condensation to form tropospheric methane clouds, fractionation occurring over a hypothetical CH_4–C_2H_6 ocean and between the ocean and the clathrate crust beneath, fractionation which occurred during the formation of Titan and fractionation occurring as a result of the evolution of Titan's atmosphere. We conclude that the greater part of the observed fractionation is probably derived from the formation of Titan and the subsequent evolution of Titan's atmosphere driven by photochemistry.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Lunine, Jonathan I.0000-0003-2279-4131
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 1986 Nature Publishing Group. Received 20 May; accepted 14 October 1985. We thank Mark Allen, Larry Nyquist, AI Laufer, Ray Reynolds and Dave Stevenson for useful discussions and Catherine de Bergh, Barry Lutz, Tobias Owen, Sam Epstein and Jongmann Yang for communication of their results before publication. This research was supported by NASA grants NAGW-254 and NSG 7376 to the California Institute of Technology. Contribution no. 4164 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4164
Issue or Number:6052
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140909-091900680
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:D to H ratio and the origin and evolution of Titan's atmosphere 388-390 Joseph P. Pinto, Jonathan I. Lunine, Sang-Joon Kim & Yuk L. Yung doi:10.1038/319388a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49484
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:09 Sep 2014 16:43
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:44

Repository Staff Only: item control page