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Sublimation's impact on temporal change of albedo dichotomy on Iapetus

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Title: Sublimation's impact on temporal change of albedo dichotomy on Iapetus
Authors: Kimura, Jun Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Kawamura, Taichi Browse this author
Morito, Hisataka Browse this author
Morota, Tomokatsu Browse this author
Honda, Chikatoshi Browse this author
Kuramoto, Kiyoshi Browse this author
Okada, Tatsuaki Browse this author
Keywords: Iapetus
Saturn, Satellites
Satellites, Surfaces
Geological processes
Issue Date: Aug-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal Title: Icarus
Volume: 214
Issue: 2
Start Page: 596
End Page: 605
Publisher DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.06.015
Abstract: Iapetus, one of the Saturnian moons, has an extreme albedo contrast between the leading and trailing hemispheres. The origin of this albedo dichotomy has led to several hypotheses, however it remains controversial. To clarify the origin of the dichotomy, the key approach is to investigate the detailed distribution of the dark material. Recent studies of impact craters and surface temperature from Cassini spacecraft data implied that sublimation of H2O ice can occur on Iapetus' surface. This ice sublimation can change the albedo distribution on the moon with time. In this study, we evaluate the effect of ice sublimation and simulate the temporal change of surface albedo. We assume the dark material and the bright ice on the surface to be uniformly mixed with a certain volume fraction, and the initial albedo distribution to incorporate the dark material deposits on the surface. That is, the albedo at the apex is lowest and concentrically increases in a sinusoidal pattern. This situation simulates that dark materials existed around the Iapetus' orbit billions of years ago, and the synchronously rotating Iapetus swept the material and then deposited it on its surface. The evolution of the surface albedo during 4.0 Gyr is simulated by estimating the surface temperature from the insolation energy on Iapetus including the effect of Saturn's eccentricity and Iapetus' obliquity precession, and evaluating the sublimation rate of H2O ice from the Iapetus' surface. As a result, we found that the distribution of the surface albedo changed dramatically after 4.0 Gyr of evolution. The sublimation has three important effects on the resultant surface albedo. First, the albedo in the leading hemisphere has significantly decreased to approach the minimum value. Second, the albedo distribution has been elongated along the equator. Third, the edge of the low albedo region has become clear. Considering the effect of ice sublimation, the current albedo distribution can be reconstructed from the sinusoidal albedo distribution, suggesting the apex-antapex cratering asymmetry as a candidate for the origin of the albedo dichotomy. From the model analysis, we obtained an important aspect that the depth of the turn-over layer where the darkening process proceeded for 4 Gyr should be an order of 10 cm, which is consistent with evaluation from the Cassini radar observations.
Type: article (author version)
Appears in Collections:理学院・理学研究院 (Graduate School of Science / Faculty of Science) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 木村 淳

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