Gigantic Hydrocarbon Hills On Saturn's Largest Moon Formed By Shifting Winds

December 9, 2014 7:06 AM

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Gigantic Hydrocarbon Hills On Saturn's Largest Moon Formed By Shifting Winds

Massive dunes on Titan -- Saturn’s largest moon -- some of them hundreds of feet high and hundreds of miles in length, have puzzled scientists studying the mechanism of formation of these gigantic, undulating mounds. Titan, which has a thick atmosphere and dense hydrocarbon lakes filled with methane and ethane, is believed to be the only body in our solar system other than Venus, Earth and Mars, to have wind-blown dunes on its surface.

However, the dunes on Titan are nothing like those on Earth or Mars, according to two separate studies published Monday in the journal Nature. Researchers found, using data gathered from the Cassini orbiter, which has been observing Saturn for over a decade, that the dunes are composed of hydrocarbo...

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