Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Radar-Bright Valley (Titan)

  • Ralf JaumannEmail author
  • Mirjam Langhans
  • Alice Le Gall
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_123


A valley-like feature on Titan exhibiting high radar backscatter.




Fluvial valleys on Titan have diverse morphologies with subclasses as defined by arid but cold climatic conditions. Dry valleys with lengths <300 km and width <8 km are observed. They appear radar-bright on Cassini SAR images because they are not filled with liquid but with sediments that are probably centimetric or even larger in size in the brightest valleys. They are similar to terrestrial desert washes (wadis), which suggests formation by sudden, episodic, and strong flow events in dry climatic conditions, followed by long dry periods. Outflow events may be induced by precipitation or sapping. Compared to valleys within integrated dendritic networks, Titan’s dry valleys are generally shorter and broader (Porco et al. 2005...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Elachi C, Wall S, Allison M, Anderson Y, Boehmer R, Callahan P, Encrenaz P, Flamini E, Franceschetti G, Gim Y, Hamilton G, Hensley S, Janssen M, Johnson W, Kelleher K, Kirk R, Lopes R, Lorenz R, Lunine J, Muhleman D, Ostro S, Paganelli F, Picardi G, Posa F, Roth L, Seu R, Shaffer S, Soderblom L, Stiles B, Stofan E, Vetrella S, West R, Wood C, Wye L, Zebker H (2005) First views of the surface of Titan from the Cassini radar. Science 308:970–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Jaumann R et al (2008) Fluvial erosion and post-erosional processes on Titan. Icarus 197:526–538. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.06.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jaumann R et al (2009) Geology and surface processes on Titan. In: Brown RH, Lebreton J-P, Waite JH (eds) Titan from Cassini-Huygens. Springer, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York, pp 75–140Google Scholar
  4. Langhans MH, Jaumann R, Stephan K et al (2012) Titan’s fluvial valleys: morphology, distribution, and spectral properties. Planet Space Sci 60:34–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Le Gall A, Janssen MA, Lorenz RD, Paillou P, Wall SD, The Cassini Radar Team (2010) Radar-bright channels on Titan. Icarus 207:948–958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lopes RMC et al (2010) Distribution and interplay of geologic processes on Titan from Cassini radar data. Icarus 205:540–558. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.08.010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lorenz RD et al (2008) Fluvial channels on Titan: initial Cassini RADAR observations. Planet Space Sci 56:1132–1144. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2008.02.009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lunine JI, Atreya SK (2008) The methane cycle on Titan. Nat Geosci 1:159–164. doi:10.1038/ngeo125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Paganelli F, Elachi C, Lopes RM, West RA, Stiles B et al (2005) Channels and fan-like features on Titan surface imaged by the Cassini RADAR. Lunar Planet Sci XXXVI, abstract # 2150, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  10. Porco CC, Baker E, Barbara J, Beurle K, Brahic A, Burns JA, Charnoz S, Cooper N, Dawson DD, Del Genio AD, Denk T, Dones L, Dyudina U, Evans MW, Fussner S, Giese B, Grazier K, Helfenstein P, Ingersol AP, Jacobson RA, Johnson TV, McEwen A, Murray CD, Neukum G, Owen WM, Perry J, Roatsch T, Spitale J, Squyres S, Thomas P, Tiscareno L, Turtle EP, Vasavada AR, Veverka J, Wagner R, West R (2005) Imaging of Titan from the Cassini spacecraft. Nature 434:159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Soderblom LA et al (2007) Correlations between Cassini VIMS spectra and RADAR SAR images: implications for Titan’s surface composition and the character of the Huygens Probe Landing Site. Planet Space Sci 55:2025–2036. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2007.04.014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Tomasko MG et al (2005) Rain, winds and haze during the Huygens probe’s descent to Titan’s surface. Nature 438:765–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Turtle EP, Perry JE, Hayes AG, Lorenz RD et al (2011) Rapid and extensive surface changes near Titan’s equator: evidence of April showers. Science 331:1414–1417. doi:10.1126/science.1201063CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLRInstitut für PlanetenforschungBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Earth’s Magnetic FieldGFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.LATMOS (Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales), UVSQ (Université Versailles Saint-Quentin)ParisFrance