GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 144-8
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM


MARTIN, Emily S.1, PATTHOFF, D. Alex2, BLAND, Michael3, WATTERS, Thomas R.1 and COLLINS, Geoffrey C.4, (1)Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, (2)Science Division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA, Pasadena, CA 91109, (3)Astrogeology Science Center, United States Geological Survey, 2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, (4)Physics and Astronomy, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766

In 1989, Voyager 2 encountered the Neptune system and returned images of its largest moon (~1350 km radius), Triton. Those images remain the primary data for our understanding of the satellite. Triton was revealed to have a young surface and is geologically active. The activity has been linked to its dynamical history as a likely captured Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). Triton contributes to the diverse population of icy satellites, but its origin is unique relative to those of the other planets. The capture of Triton by Neptune, likely resulted in a massive heating event that resulted in resurfacing, possibly by cryovolcanism. Crater counts for both Triton and portions of Pluto suggest that both surfaces are exceptionally young, which may indicate that neither Triton nor Pluto retain their original surfaces.

To-date, no peer-reviewed, detailed and digital geologic map exists to characterize, classify, and identify geologic surface units and features on Triton. Mapping of Pluto and Charon is in progress, but as no comparable geologic map of Triton exists, a direct comparison between these KBOs cannot be performed at a fundamental level.

We are working to create an accessible Triton data archive that will recover and restore original data products and provide context for future investigations by creating a geologic map across Triton’s Neptune-facing hemisphere. We are producing a USGS Scientific Investigations Map of the Neptune-facing side of Triton at 1:5M. The available imagery used for mapping covers approximately 1/3 of Triton’s surface from 45° to -60°N latitude and -75° to 90°E longitude. We will present our most up-to-date mapping and results that are in preparation to be submitted for review.