Thursday, March 24, 2005

New Enceladus Image: Transition on Enceladus

CICLOPS has released three new stereo views of Enceladus using images taken during Cassini's most recent flyby of that moon a few weeks ago. This particular view shows the transition from cratered terrain to grooved terrain, demarcated by a sharp, westward-facing cliff that runs generally north-south just left of center. The craters in the cratered terrain have been heavily deformed, both by fracturing, indicating a high amount of stress on the lithosphere of Enceladus in this region, and by viscous relaxation (making craters appear smooth and shallow), perhaps indicating a higher heat flow in this part of Enceladus. To the west of the cliff, the surface is much younger with far fewer craters. This region is characterized by parallel sets of grooves and ridges. On the far left, you can see a snipet of the wrinkled terrain characteristic of Diyar Planitia. Cross-cutting all of this terrain, is a sharp fracture that runs north-south just east of the cliff in the crater terrain, then turns to the southwest, cutting across the cliff and grooved terrain. This indicates that this fracture is one of the youngest features in this image.


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