37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 30 Outer Planets
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[30.17] Saturn's Internal Structure and Carbon Enrichment

O. Mousis (Os. Besancon, France), Y. Alibert (U. Bern, Switerland)

We use the clathrate hydrate trapping theory to calculate the enrichments in O, N, S, Xe, Ar and Kr compared to solar in Saturn's atmosphere. For this, we calibrate our calculations using two different carbon abundance determinations: one derived from ground-based observations and the other obtained from the Cassini spacecraft observations. We show that these two different carbon abundances imply quite a different minimum heavy element content for Saturn. Using the ground-based C measurement for calibration, the amount of ices accreted by Saturn is found to be consistent with current interior models of this planet. On the other hand, using the Cassini measurement for calibration leads to an ice content in the planet's envelope which is higher than the one derived from the interior models. In this latter case, reconciling the interior models with the amount of C measured by the Cassini spacecraft requires that significant differential sedimentation of water and volatile species have taken place in Saturn's interior during its lifetime.

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