Shifting winds created Enormous Hydrocarbon Hills on Saturn`s Largest Moon

December 9, 2014 10:41 AM

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Shifting winds created massive dunes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon ranging from hundreds of feet’s high and hundreds of mile in length. The scientist who are studying the mechanism of how this dunes are created are puzzled by the enormity of it. Titan has thick atmosphere and dense hydrocarbon lakes filled with methane and ethane. Titan is the only one in our solar system other than Venus, Earth and Mars to have a wind-blown dunes on its surface, but these dunes are totally different than the one we have on earth or Mars. Decades of data collected by the Cassini orbiter and analyzed by the researchers establish that the dunes in Titan composed of hydrocarbons and “may possibly include particles of water ice that are coated with these organic materials.” The sand dunes on Earth and Mars are mainly comprises of silicates.

Devon Burr a planetary scientist at the University of Tennessee led the research. To stimulate the wind condition in Titan the researchers build a wind tunnel at the research center. In the wind tunnel the researchers discovered that the threshold wind speed in the Titan was 50% higher than predicte...

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