37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 47 Icy Satellites
Poster, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[47.08] The topography of Iapetus' leading side

B. Giese (DLR-Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany), T. Denk, G. Neukum (Institut fur Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Univ. Berlin, Germany), C. C. Porco (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations, Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO, USA), T. Roatsch, R. Wagner (DLR-Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany)

We have used Cassini-stereo images to derive a topographic model of Iapetus' leading side. The model reveals that Iapetus has substantial topography with heights (referenced to a 747 x 744 x 713 km ellipsoid (Thomas et al., in preparation)) in the range of -9 km to +15 km, much more than observed on the icy satellites of Jupiter. There is an old 800 km impact basin centered at 270 degrees E, 40 degrees N with rim topography of more than 10 km extending over scales of 300-400 km. The fact that this topography did not relax over time may suggest that the lithosphere reached depths larger than the excavation depth at the time of formation, or, if the impact has probed the asthenosphere, that rapid cooling and associated thickening of the lithosphere has prevented relaxation of the rim topography. However, the basin floor is almost level with the surroundings and may indicate that asthenospheric flow was important. In this case the flow could have uplifted the rim. Moreover, the model reveals four impact basins (diameters > 300 km) showing central peak massifs but no rings (including inner rings) are observed. This is consistent with a lithosphere sufficiently thick to prevent ring formation. One of the basins with a weakly pronounced central peak has a slightly updomed floor suggesting isostatic rebound. There is a prominent equatorial ridge with heights of more than 12 km and widths < 100 km. The morphology of the ridge suggests a tectonic origin involving upwarping of the surface.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.