Lakes of Titan

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False-color, medium-resolution Cassini synthetic aperture radar mosaic of Titan's north polar region, showing hydrocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks. Blue coloring indicates low radar reflectivity areas, caused by bodies of liquid ethane, methane and dissolved nitrogen.[1] Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Titan, is at lower left. Ligeia Mare is the large body below the pole, and Punga Mare at half its size is just left of the pole. White areas have not been imaged.

Lakes of ethane and methane on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have been detected by the Cassini–Huygens space probe, and had been suspected long before.[2] The large ones are known as maria (seas) and the small ones as lacūs (lakes).[3]

History and Discovery[edit]

Titan lakes (September 11, 2017)
Size comparison of Ligeia Mare with Lake Superior.
Radargram acquired by the Cassini RADAR altimeter showing the surface and seafloor of Ligeia Mare along the transect highlined by the red line. In each column is shown the received power as function of time.
Vid Flumina,[4] a 400-kilometer-long (250 mi) river emptying into Ligeia Mare (in lower right corner of top image).

The possibility that there were seas on Titan was first suggested based on data from the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes, launched in August and September 1977. The data showed Titan to have a thick atmosphere of approximately the correct temperature and composition to support them. Direct evidence was not obtained until 1995 when data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observations had already suggested the existence of liquid methane on Titan, either in disconnected pockets or on the scale of satellite-wide oceans, similar to water on Earth.[5]

The Cassini mission affirmed the former hypothesis, although not immediately. When the probe arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, it was hoped that hydrocarbon lakes or oceans might be detectable by reflected sunlight from the surface of any liquid bodies, but no specular reflections were initially observed.[6]

The possibility remained that liquid ethane and methane might be found on Titan's polar regions, where they were expected to be abundant and stable.[7] In Titan's south polar region, an enigmatic dark feature named Ontario Lacus was the first suspected lake identified, possibly created by clouds that are observed to cluster in the area.[8] A possible shoreline was also identified near the pole via radar imagery.[9] Following a flyby on July 22, 2006, in which the Cassini spacecraft's radar imaged the northern latitudes, which were at the time in winter. A number of large, smooth (and thus dark to radar) patches were seen dotting the surface near the pole.[10] Based on the observations, scientists announced "definitive evidence of lakes filled with methane on Saturn's moon Titan" in January 2007.[7][11] The Cassini–Huygens team concluded that the imaged features are almost certainly the long-sought hydrocarbon lakes, the first stable bodies of surface liquid found off Earth. Some appear to have channels associated with liquid and lie in topographical depressions.[7] Channels in some regions have created surprisingly little erosion, suggesting erosion on Titan is extremely slow, or some other recent phenomena may have wiped out older riverbeds and landforms.[12] Overall, the Cassini radar observations have shown that lakes cover only a few percent of the surface and are concentrated near the poles, making Titan much dryer than Earth.[13] The high relative humidity of methane in Titan's lower atmosphere could be maintained by evaporation from lakes covering only 0.002–0.02% of the whole surface.[14]

During a Cassini flyby in late February 2007, radar and camera observations revealed several large features in the north polar region interpreted as large expanses of liquid methane and/or ethane, including one, Ligeia Mare, with an area of 126,000 km2 (49,000 sq mi), slightly larger than Lake Michigan–Huron, the largest freshwater lake on Earth; and another, Kraken Mare, that would later prove to be three times that size. A flyby of Titan's southern polar regions in October 2007 revealed similar, though far smaller, lakelike features.[15]

Infrared specular reflection off Jingpo Lacus, a north polar body of liquid.
Image of Titan taken during Huygens' descent, showing hills and topographical features that resemble a shoreline and drainage channels.

During a close Cassini flyby in December 2007 the visual and mapping instrument observed a lake, Ontario Lacus, in Titan's south polar region. This instrument identifies chemically different materials based on the way they absorb and reflect infrared light. Radar measurements made in July 2009 and January 2010 indicate that Ontario Lacus is extremely shallow, with an average depth of 0.4–3.2 m (1 ft 4 in – 10 ft 6 in), and a maximum depth of 2.9–7.4 m (9 ft 6 in – 24 ft 3 in).[16] It may thus resemble a terrestrial mudflat. In contrast, the northern hemisphere's Ligeia Mare has depths of 170 m (560 ft).[17]

Chemical composition and surface roughness of the lakes[edit]

According to Cassini data, scientists announced on February 13, 2008, that Titan hosts within its polar lakes "hundreds of times more natural gas and other liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth." The desert sand dunes along the equator, while devoid of open liquid, nonetheless hold more organics than all of Earth's coal reserves.[18] It has been estimated that the visible lakes and seas of Titan contain about 300 times the volume of Earth's proven oil reserves.[19] In June 2008, Cassini's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer confirmed the presence of liquid ethane beyond doubt in a lake in Titan's southern hemisphere.[20] The exact blend of hydrocarbons in the lakes is unknown. According to a computer model, 3/4 of an average polar lake is ethane, with 10 percent methane, 7 percent propane and smaller amounts of hydrogen cyanide, butane, nitrogen and argon.[21] Benzene is expected to fall like snow and quickly dissolve into the lakes, although the lakes may become saturated just as the Dead Sea on Earth is packed with salt. The excess benzene would then build up in a mud-like sludge on the shores and on the lake floors before eventually being eroded by ethane rain, forming a complex cave-riddled landscape.[22] Salt-like compounds composed of ammonia and acetylene are also predicted to form.[23] However, the chemical composition and physical properties of the lakes probably varies from one lake to another (Cassini observations in 2013 indicate Ligeia Mare is filled with a ternary mixture of methane, ethane, and nitrogen and consequently the probe's radar signals were able to detect the sea floor 170 m [560 ft] below the liquid surface).[24]

No waves were initially detected by Cassini as the northern lakes emerged from winter darkness (calculations indicate wind speeds of less than 1 meter per second [2.2 mph] should whip up detectable waves in Titan's ethane lakes but none were observed). This may be either due to low seasonal winds or solidification of hydrocarbons. Titan has several lakes that reside near its northern pole that vary in size, the area these lakes cover and lower wind speeds could as well explain why there were no surface waves being detected. The area over a liquid that wind blows across is known as fetch.[25] The larger this area is, the larger waves become as wind has more area to blow across to transfer energy. The smaller the area of fetch, the smaller waves will be. The optical properties of solid methane surface (close to the melting point) are quite close to the properties of liquid surface however the viscosity of solid methane, even near the melting point, is many orders of magnitude higher, which might explain extraordinary smoothness of the surface.[26] Solid methane is denser than liquid methane so it will eventually sink. It is possible that the methane ice could float for a time as it probably contains bubbles of nitrogen gas from Titan's atmosphere.[27] Temperatures close to the freezing point of methane (90.4 K; −182.8 °C; −296.9 °F) could lead to both floating and sinking ice - that is, a hydrocarbon ice crust above the liquid and blocks of hydrocarbon ice on the bottom of the lake bed. The ice is predicted to rise to the surface again at the onset of spring before melting.

Since 2014, Cassini has detected transient features in scattered patches in Kraken Mare, Ligeia Mare and Punga Mare. Laboratory experiments suggest these features (e.g. RADAR-bright "magic islands")[28] might be vast patches of bubbles caused by the rapid release of nitrogen dissolved in the lakes. Bubble outburst events are predicted to occur as the lakes cool and subsequently warm or whenever methane-rich fluids mix with ethane-rich ones due to heavy rainfall.[29][30] Bubble outburst events may also influence the formation of Titan's river deltas.[30] An alternative explanation is the transient features in Cassini VIMS near-infrared data may be shallow, wind-driven capillary waves (ripples) moving at about 0.7 m/s (1.6 mph) and at heights of about 1.5 centimeters (0.59 in).[31][32][33] Post-Cassini analysis of VIMS data suggests tidal currents may also be responsible for the generation of persistent waves in narrow channels (Freta) of Kraken Mare.[33]

Cyclones driven by evaporation and involving rain as well as gale-force winds of up to 20 m/s (72 km/h; 45 mph) are expected to form over the large northern seas only (Kraken Mare, Ligeia Mare, Punga Mare) in northern summer during 2017, lasting up to ten days.[34] However, a 2017 analysis of Cassini data from 2007 to 2015 indicates waves across these three seas were diminutive, reaching only about 1 centimeter (0.39 in) high and 20 centimeters (7.9 in) long. The results call into question the early summer's classification as the beginning of the Titan's windy season, because high winds probably would have made for larger waves.[35] A 2019 theoretical study concluded that it is possible that the relatively dense aerosols raining down on Titan's lakes may have liquid-repelling properties, forming a persistent film on the surface of the lakes which then would inhibit formation of waves larger than a few centimetres in wavelength.[36]

Observation of specular reflections[edit]

Near-infrared radiation from the Sun reflecting off Titan's hydrocarbon seas.

On 21 December 2008, Cassini passed directly over Ontario Lacus at an altitude of 1,900 km (1,200 mi) and was able to observe specular reflection in radar observations. The signals were much stronger than anticipated and saturated the probe's receiver. The conclusion drawn from the strength of the reflection was that the lake level did not vary by more than 3 mm (0.12 in) over a first Fresnel zone reflecting area only 100 m (330 ft) wide (smoother than any natural dry surface on Earth). From this it was surmised that surface winds in the area are minimal at that season and/or the lake fluid is more viscous than expected.[37][38]

On 8 July 2009, Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) observed a specular reflection in 5 µm infrared light off a northern hemisphere body of liquid at 71° N, 337° W. This has been described as at the southern shoreline of Kraken Mare,[39] but on a combined radar-VIMS image the location is shown as a separate lake (later named Jingpo Lacus). The observation was made shortly after the north polar region emerged from 15 years of winter darkness. Because of the polar location of the reflecting liquid body, the observation required a phase angle close to 180°.[40]

Equatorial in-situ observations by the Huygens probe[edit]

The discoveries in the polar regions contrast with the findings of the Huygens probe, which landed near Titan's equator on January 14, 2005. The images taken by the probe during its descent showed no open areas of liquid, but strongly indicated the presence of liquids in the recent past, showing pale hills crisscrossed with dark drainage channels that lead into a wide, flat, darker region. It was initially thought that the dark region might be a lake of a fluid or at least tar-like substance, but it is now clear that Huygens landed on the dark region, and that it is solid without any indication of liquids. A penetrometer studied the composition of the surface as the craft impacted it, and it was initially reported that the surface was similar to wet clay, or perhaps crème brûlée (that is, a hard crust covering a sticky material). Subsequent analysis of the data suggests that this reading was likely caused by Huygens displacing a large pebble as it landed, and that the surface is better described as a "sand" made of ice grains.[41] The images taken after the probe's landing show a flat plain covered in pebbles. The pebbles may be made of water ice and are somewhat rounded, which may indicate the action of fluids.[42] Thermometers indicated that heat was wicked away from Huygens so quickly that the ground must have been damp, and one image shows light reflected by a dewdrop as it falls across the camera's field of view. On Titan, the feeble sunlight allows only about one centimeter of evaporation per year (versus one meter of water on Earth), but the atmosphere can hold the equivalent of about 10 meters (33 ft) of liquid before rain forms (versus about 2 cm [0.79 in] on Earth). So Titan's weather is expected to feature downpours of several meters (15–20 feet) causing flash floods, interspersed by decades or centuries of drought (whereas typical weather on Earth includes a little rain most weeks).[43] Cassini has observed equatorial rainstorms only once since 2004. Despite this, a number of long-standing tropical hydrocarbon lakes were unexpectedly discovered in 2012[44] (including one near the Huygens landing site in the Shangri-La region which is about half the size of Utah's Great Salt Lake, with a depth of at least 1 meter [3'4"]). As on Earth, the likely supplier is probably underground aquifers, in other words the arid equatorial regions of Titan contain "oases".[45]

Impact of Titan's methane cycle and geology on lake formation[edit]

Rimmed lakes of Titan
(artist concept)
Evolving feature in Ligeia Mare

Models of oscillations in Titan's atmospheric circulation suggest that over the course of a Saturnian year, liquid is transported from the equatorial region to the poles, where it falls as rain. This might account for the equatorial region's relative dryness.[46] According to a computer model, intense rainstorms should occur in normally rainless equatorial areas during Titan's vernal and autumnal equinoxes—enough liquid to carve out the type of channels that Huygens found.[47] The model also predicts energy from the Sun will evaporate liquid methane from Titan's surface except at the poles, where the relative absence of sunlight makes it easier for liquid methane to accumulate into permanent lakes. The model also apparently explains why there are more lakes in the northern hemisphere. Due to the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit, the northern summer is longer than the southern summer and consequently the rainy season is longer in the north.

However, recent Cassini observations (from 2013) suggest geology may also explain the geographic distribution of the lakes and other surface features. One puzzling feature of Titan is the lack of impact craters at the poles and mid-latitudes, particularly at lower elevations. These areas may be wetlands fed by subsurface ethane and methane springs.[48] Any crater created by meteorites is thus quickly subsumed by wet sediment. The presence of underground aquifers could explain another mystery. Titan's atmosphere is full of methane, which according to calculations should react with ultraviolet radiation from the sun to produce liquid ethane. Over time, the moon should have built up an ethane ocean hundreds of meters (1,500 to 2,500 feet) deep instead of only a handful of polar lakes. The presence of wetlands would suggest that the ethane soaks into the ground, forming a subsurface liquid layer akin to groundwater on Earth. A possibility is that the formation of materials called clathrates changes the chemical composition of the rainfall runoff that charges the subsurface hydrocarbon "aquifers." This process leads to the formation of reservoirs of propane and ethane that may feed into some rivers and lakes. The chemical transformations taking place underground would affect Titan's surface. Lakes and rivers fed by springs from propane or ethane subsurface reservoirs would show the same kind of composition, whereas those fed by rainfall would be different and contain a significant fraction of methane.[49]

All but 3% of Titan's lakes have been found within a bright unit of terrain covering about 900 by 1,800 kilometers (560 by 1,120 mi) near the north pole. The lakes found here have very distinctive shapes—rounded complex silhouettes and steep sides—suggesting deformation of the crust created fissures that could be filled up with liquid. A variety of formation mechanisms have been proposed. The explanations range from the collapse of land after a cryovolcanic eruption to karst terrain, where liquids dissolve soluble ice.[50] Smaller lakes (up to tens of miles across) with steep rims (up to hundreds of feet high) might be analogous to maar lakes, i.e. explosion craters subsequently filled with liquid. The explosions are proposed to result from fluctuations in climate, which lead to pockets of liquid nitrogen accumulating within the crust during colder periods and then exploding when warming caused the nitrogen to rapidly expand as it shifted to a gas state.[51][52][53]

Titan Mare Explorer[edit]

Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) was a proposed NASA/ESA lander that would splash down on Ligeia Mare and analyze its surface, shoreline and Titan's atmosphere.[54] However, it was turned down in August 2012, when NASA instead selected the InSight mission to Mars.[55]

Named lakes and seas[edit]

False-color near infrared view of Titan's northern hemisphere, showing its seas and lakes. Orange areas near some of them may be deposits of organic evaporite left behind by receding liquid hydrocarbon.
Intricate networks of channels drain into Kraken Mare (lower left) and Ligeia Mare (upper right).
Hydrocarbon lakes on Titan: Cassini radar image, 2006. Bolsena Lacus is at lower right, with Sotonera Lacus just above and to its left. Koitere Lacus and Neagh Lacus are in the middle distance, left of center and on the right margin, respectively. Mackay Lacus is at upper left.
Titan's "kissing lakes", formally named Abaya Lacus, about 65 km (40 mi) across
Feia Lacus, about 47 km (29 mi) across, a lake with several large peninsulas

Features labeled lacus are believed to be ethane/methane lakes, while features labeled lacuna are believed to be dry lake beds. Both are named after lakes on Earth.[3] Features labeled sinus are bays within the lakes or seas. They are named after bays and fjords on Earth. Features labeled insula are islands within the body of liquid. They are named after mythical islands. Titanean maria (large hydrocarbon seas) are named after sea monsters in world mythology.[3] The tables are up-to-date as of 2023.[56]

Sea names of Titan[edit]

Name Coordinates Length (km)[note 1] Area (km2) Approval Date Source of name Ref
Kraken Mare 68°00′N 310°00′W / 68.0°N 310.0°W / 68.0; -310.0 1,170 400,000 11 April 2008 The Kraken, Norse sea monster. WGPSN
Ligeia Mare 79°00′N 248°00′W / 79.0°N 248.0°W / 79.0; -248.0 500 126,000 11 April 2008 Ligeia, one of the Sirens, Greek monsters WGPSN
Punga Mare 85°06′N 339°42′W / 85.1°N 339.7°W / 85.1; -339.7 380 40,000 14 November 2008 Punga, Māori ancestor of sharks and lizards WGPSN

Lake names of Titan[edit]

Name Coordinates Length (km)[note 1] Approval Date Source of name Ref
Abaya Lacus 73°10′N 45°33′W / 73.17°N 45.55°W / 73.17; -45.55 (Abaya Lacus) 65 27 September 2007 Lake Abaya, Ethiopia WGPSN
Akmena Lacus 85°06′N 55°36′W / 85.1°N 55.6°W / 85.1; -55.6 (Akmena Lacus) 35.6 7 August 2017 Lake Akmena, Lithuania WGPSN
Albano Lacus 65°54′N 236°24′W / 65.9°N 236.4°W / 65.9; -236.4 (Albano Lacus) 6.2 16 September 2010 Lake Albano, Italy WGPSN
Annecy Lacus 76°48′N 128°54′W / 76.8°N 128.9°W / 76.8; -128.9 (Annecy Lacus) 20 26 June 2017 Lake Annecy, France WGPSN
Arala Lacus 78°06′N 124°54′W / 78.1°N 124.9°W / 78.1; -124.9 (Arala Lacus) 12.3 26 June 2017 Lake Arala, Mali WGPSN
Atitlán Lacus 69°18′N 238°48′W / 69.3°N 238.8°W / 69.3; -238.8 (Atitlán Lacus) 13.7 16 September 2010 Lake Atitlán, Guatemala WGPSN
Balaton Lacus 82°54′N 87°30′W / 82.9°N 87.5°W / 82.9; -87.5 (Balaton Lacus) 35.6 7 August 2017 Lake Balaton, Hungary WGPSN
Bolsena Lacus 75°45′N 10°17′W / 75.75°N 10.28°W / 75.75; -10.28 (Bolsena Lacus) 101 27 September 2007 Lake Bolsena, Italy WGPSN
Brienz Lacus 85°18′N 43°48′W / 85.3°N 43.8°W / 85.3; -43.8 (Brienz Lacus) 50.6 7 August 2017 Lake Brienz, Switzerland WGPSN
Buada Lacus 76°24′N 129°36′W / 76.4°N 129.6°W / 76.4; -129.6 (Buada Lacus) 76.4 26 June 2017 Buada Lagoon, Nauru WGPSN
Cardiel Lacus 70°12′N 206°30′W / 70.2°N 206.5°W / 70.2; -206.5 (Cardiel Lacus) 22 7 April 2011 Cardiel Lake, Argentina WGPSN
Cayuga Lacus 69°48′N 230°00′W / 69.8°N 230.0°W / 69.8; -230.0 (Cayuga Lacus) 22.7 16 September 2010 Cayuga Lake, USA WGPSN
Chilwa Lacus 75°00′N 131°18′W / 75°N 131.3°W / 75; -131.3 (Chilwa Lacus) 19.8 6 June 2017 Lake Chilwa, near Malawi-Mozambique border WGPSN
Crveno Lacus 79°36′S 184°54′W / 79.6°S 184.9°W / -79.6; -184.9 (Crveno Lacus) 41.0 20 July 2015 Crveno Jezero, Croatia WGPSN
Dilolo Lacus 76°12′N 125°00′W / 76.2°N 125°W / 76.2; -125 (Dilolo Lacus) 18.3 26 June 2017 Dilolo Lake, Angola WGPSN
Dridzis Lacus 78°54′N 131°18′W / 78.9°N 131.3°W / 78.9; -131.3 (Dilolo Lacus) 50 26 June 2017 Lake Dridzis, Latvia WGPSN
Enriquillo Lacus 71°24′N 237°35′W / 71.4°N 237.59°W / 71.4; -237.59 (Enriquillo Lacus) 47 13 April 2022 Lake in the Dominican Republic WGPSN
Feia Lacus 73°42′N 64°25′W / 73.7°N 64.41°W / 73.7; -64.41 (Feia Lacus) 47 27 September 2007 Lake Feia, Brazil WGPSN
Fogo Lacus 81°54′N 98°00′W / 81.9°N 98°W / 81.9; -98 (Fogo Lacus) 32.3 7 August 2017 Lagoa do Fogo, Azores, Portugal WGPSN
Freeman Lacus 73°36′N 211°06′W / 73.6°N 211.1°W / 73.6; -211.1 (Freeman Lacus) 26 7 April 2011 Lake Freeman, USA WGPSN
Gatun Lacus 72°47′N 178°02′W / 72.79°N 178.04°W / 72.79; -178.04 (Gatun Lacus) 67 13 April 2022 Lake in Panama WGPSN
Grasmere Lacus 72°18′N 103°06′W / 72.3°N 103.1°W / 72.3; -103.1 (Grasmere Lacus) 33.3 7 August 2017 Grasmere Lake, England WGPSN
Hammar Lacus 48°36′N 308°17′W / 48.6°N 308.29°W / 48.6; -308.29 (Hammar Lacus) 200 3 December 2013 Lake Hammar, Iraq WGPSN
Hlawga Lacus 76°36′N 103°36′W / 76.6°N 103.6°W / 76.6; -103.6 (Hlawga Lacus) 40.3 7 August 2017 Lake Hlawga, Myanmar WGPSN
Ihotry Lacus 76°06′N 137°12′W / 76.1°N 137.2°W / 76.1; -137.2 (Ihotry Lacus) 37.5 6 June 2017 Lake Ihotry, Madagascar WGPSN
Imogene Lacus 71°06′N 111°48′W / 71.1°N 111.8°W / 71.1; -111.8 (Imogene Lacus) 38 26 June 2017 Imogene Lake, USA WGPSN
Jingpo Lacus 73°00′N 336°00′W / 73.0°N 336.0°W / 73.0; -336.0 (Jingpo Lacus) 240 29 March 2010 Jingpo Lake, China WGPSN
Junín Lacus 66°54′N 236°54′W / 66.9°N 236.9°W / 66.9; -236.9 (Junín Lacus) 6.3 16 September 2010 Lake Junín, Peru WGPSN
Karakul Lacus 86°18′N 56°36′W / 86.3°N 56.6°W / 86.3; -56.6 (Karakul Lacus) 18.4 7 August 2017 Lake Karakul, Tajikistan WGPSN
Kayangan Lacus 86°18′S 236°54′W / 86.3°S 236.9°W / -86.3; -236.9 (Kayangan Lacus) 6.2 27 December 2015 Kayangan Lake, Philippines WGPSN
Kivu Lacus 87°00′N 121°00′W / 87.0°N 121.0°W / 87.0; -121.0 (Kivu Lacus) 77.5 14 November 2008 Lake Kivu, on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo WGPSN
Koitere Lacus 79°24′N 36°08′W / 79.4°N 36.14°W / 79.4; -36.14 (Koitere Lacus) 68 27 September 2007 Koitere, Finland WGPSN
Ladoga Lacus 74°48′N 26°06′W / 74.8°N 26.1°W / 74.8; -26.1 (Ladoga Lacus) 110 24 May 2013 Lake Ladoga, Russia WGPSN
Lagdo Lacus 75°30′N 125°42′W / 75.5°N 125.7°W / 75.5; -125.7 (Lagdo Lacus) 37.8 26 June 2017 Lagdo Reservoir, Cameroon WGPSN
Lanao Lacus 71°00′N 217°42′W / 71.0°N 217.7°W / 71.0; -217.7 (Lanao Lacus) 34.5 16 September 2010 Lake Lanao, Philippines WGPSN
Letas Lacus 81°18′N 88°12′W / 81.3°N 88.2°W / 81.3; -88.2 (Letas Lacus) 23.7 7 August 2017 Lake Letas, Vanuatu WGPSN
Logtak Lacus 70°48′N 124°06′W / 70.8°N 124.1°W / 70.8; -124.1 (Logtak Lacus) 14.3 16 September 2010 Loktak Lake, India WGPSN
Mackay Lacus 78°19′N 97°32′W / 78.32°N 97.53°W / 78.32; -97.53 (Mackay Lacus) 180 27 September 2007 Lake Mackay, Australia WGPSN
Maracaibo Lacus 75°18′N 127°42′W / 75.3°N 127.7°W / 75.3; -127.7 (Maracaibo Lacus) 20.4 6 June 2017 Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela WGPSN
Müggel Lacus 84°26′N 203°30′W / 84.44°N 203.5°W / 84.44; -203.5 (Müggel Lacus) 170 3 December 2013 Müggelsee, Germany WGPSN
Muzhwi Lacus 74°48′N 126°18′W / 74.8°N 126.3°W / 74.8; -126.3 (Muzhwi Lacus) 36 6 June 2017 Muzhwi Dam, Zimbabwe WGPSN
Mweru Lacus 71°54′N 131°48′W / 71.9°N 131.8°W / 71.9; -131.8 (Mweru Lacus) 20.6 6 June 2017 Lake Mweru, on Zambia-Democratic Republic of the Congo border WGPSN
Mývatn Lacus 78°11′N 135°17′W / 78.19°N 135.28°W / 78.19; -135.28 (Mývatn Lacus) 55 27 September 2007 Mývatn, Iceland WGPSN
Neagh Lacus 81°07′N 32°10′W / 81.11°N 32.16°W / 81.11; -32.16 (Neagh Lacus) 98 27 September 2007 Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland WGPSN
Negra Lacus 75°30′N 128°54′W / 75.5°N 128.9°W / 75.5; -128.9 (Negra Lacus) 15.3 6 June 2017 Lake Negra, Uruguay WGPSN
Ohrid Lacus 71°48′N 221°54′W / 71.8°N 221.9°W / 71.8; -221.9 (Ohrid Lacus) 17.3 16 September 2010 Lake Ohrid, on the border of North Macedonia and Albania WGPSN
Olomega Lacus 78°42′N 122°12′W / 78.7°N 122.2°W / 78.7; -122.2 (Olomega Lacus) 15.7 26 June 2017 Lake Olomega, El Salvador WGPSN
Oneida Lacus 76°08′N 131°50′W / 76.14°N 131.83°W / 76.14; -131.83 (Oneida Lacus) 51 27 September 2007 Oneida Lake, United States WGPSN
Ontario Lacus 72°00′S 183°00′W / 72.0°S 183.0°W / -72.0; -183.0 (Ontario Lacus) 235 2006 Lake Ontario, on the border between Canada and the United States. WGPSN
Phewa Lacus 72°12′N 124°00′W / 72.2°N 124°W / 72.2; -124 (Phewa Lacus) 12 6 June 2017 Phewa Lake, Nepal WGPSN
Pielinen Lacus 71°20′N 179°40′W / 71.34°N 179.66°W / 71.34; -179.66 (Pielinen Lacus) 88 13 April 2022 Lake in Finland WGPSN
Prespa Lacus 73°06′N 135°42′W / 73.1°N 135.7°W / 73.1; -135.7 (Prespa Lacus) 43.7 6 June 2017 Lake Prespa, on tripoint of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece WGPSN
Qinghai Lacus 83°24′N 51°30′W / 83.4°N 51.5°W / 83.4; -51.5 (Qinghai Lacus) 44.3 7 August 2017 Qinghai Lake, China WGPSN
Quilotoa Lacus 80°18′N 120°06′W / 80.3°N 120.1°W / 80.3; -120.1 (Quilotoa Lacus) 11.8 26 June 2017 Quilotoa, Ecuador WGPSN
Rannoch Lacus 74°12′N 129°18′W / 74.2°N 129.3°W / 74.2; -129.3 (Rannoch Lacus) 63.5 6 June 2017 Loch Rannoch, Scotland WGPSN
Roca Lacus 79°48′N 123°30′W / 79.8°N 123.5°W / 79.8; -123.5 (Roca Lacus) 46 26 June 2017 Las Rocas Lake, Chile WGPSN
Rukwa Lacus 74°48′N 134°48′W / 74.8°N 134.8°W / 74.8; -134.8 (Rukwa Lacus) 36 6 June 2017 Lake Rukwa, Tanzania WGPSN
Rwegura Lacus 71°30′N 105°12′W / 71.5°N 105.2°W / 71.5; -105.2 (Rwegura Lacus) 21.7 26 June 2017 Rwegura Dam, Burundi WGPSN
Sarygamysh Lacus 84°38′N 103°55′W / 84.64°N 103.92°W / 84.64; -103.92 (Sarygamysh Lacus) 19 13 April 2022 Lake in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan WGPSN
Sevan Lacus 69°42′N 225°36′W / 69.7°N 225.6°W / 69.7; -225.6 (Sevan Lacus) 46.9 16 September 2010 Lake Sevan, Armenia WGPSN
Shoji Lacus 79°42′S 166°24′W / 79.7°S 166.4°W / -79.7; -166.4 (Shoji Lacus) 5.8 27 December 2015 Lake Shoji, Japan WGPSN
Sionascaig Lacus 41°31′S 278°07′W / 41.52°S 278.12°W / -41.52; -278.12 (Sionascaig Lacus) 143.2 12 March 2013 Loch Sionascaig, Scotland WGPSN
Sotonera Lacus 76°45′N 17°29′W / 76.75°N 17.49°W / 76.75; -17.49 (Sotonera Lacus) 63 27 September 2007 Lake Sotonera, Spain WGPSN
Sparrow Lacus 84°18′N 64°42′W / 84.3°N 64.7°W / 84.3; -64.7 (Sparrow Lacus) 81.4 27 September 2007 Sparrow Lake, Canada WGPSN
Suwa Lacus 74°06′N 135°12′W / 74.1°N 135.2°W / 74.1; -135.2 (Suwa Lacus) 12 6 June 2017 Lake Suwa, Japan WGPSN
Synevyr Lacus 81°00′N 53°36′W / 81°N 53.6°W / 81; -53.6 (Synevyr Lacus) 36 7 August 2017 Lake Synevyr, Ukraine WGPSN
Taupo Lacus 72°42′N 132°36′W / 72.7°N 132.6°W / 72.7; -132.6 (Taupo Lacus) 27 6 June 2017 Lake Taupo, New Zealand WGPSN
Tengiz Lacus 73°12′N 105°36′W / 73.2°N 105.6°W / 73.2; -105.6 (Tengiz Lacus) 70 26 June 2017 Lake Tengiz, Kazakhstan WGPSN
Toba Lacus 70°54′N 108°06′W / 70.9°N 108.1°W / 70.9; -108.1 (Toba Lacus) 23.6 26 June 2017 Lake Toba, Indonesia WGPSN
Totak Lacus 74°02′N 225°59′W / 74.03°N 225.99°W / 74.03; -225.99 (Totak Lacus) 20 14 April 2022 Lake in Norway WGPSN
Towada Lacus 71°24′N 244°12′W / 71.4°N 244.2°W / 71.4; -244.2 (Towada Lacus) 24 7 April 2011 Lake Towada, Japan WGPSN
Trichonida Lacus 81°18′N 65°18′W / 81.3°N 65.3°W / 81.3; -65.3 (Trichonida Lacus) 31.5 7 August 2017 Lake Trichonida, Greece WGPSN
Tsomgo Lacus 86°24′S 162°24′W / 86.4°S 162.4°W / -86.4; -162.4 (Tsomgo Lacus) 59 27 December 2015 Lake Tsomgo, India WGPSN
Urmia Lacus 39°16′S 276°33′W / 39.27°S 276.55°W / -39.27; -276.55 (Urmia Lacus) 28.6 12 March 2013 Lake Urmia, Iran WGPSN
Uvs Lacus 69°36′N 245°42′W / 69.6°N 245.7°W / 69.6; -245.7 (Uvs Lacus) 26.9 16 September 2010 Uvs Lake, Mongolia WGPSN
Vänern Lacus 70°24′N 223°06′W / 70.4°N 223.1°W / 70.4; -223.1 (Vänern Lacus) 43.9 16 September 2010 Vänern, Sweden WGPSN
Van Lacus 74°12′N 137°18′W / 74.2°N 137.3°W / 74.2; -137.3 (Van Lacus) 32.7 6 June 2017 Lake Van, Turkey WGPSN
Viedma Lacus 72°00′N 125°42′W / 72°N 125.7°W / 72; -125.7 (Viedma Lacus) 42 6 June 2017 Viedma Lake, Argentina WGPSN
Waikare Lacus 81°36′N 126°00′W / 81.6°N 126.0°W / 81.6; -126.0 (Waikare Lacus) 52.5 27 September 2007 Lake Waikare, New Zealand WGPSN
Weija Lacus 68°46′N 327°41′W / 68.77°N 327.68°W / 68.77; -327.68 (Weija Lacus) 12 12 March 2020 Lake Weija, Ghana WGPSN
Winnipeg Lacus 78°03′N 153°19′W / 78.05°N 153.31°W / 78.05; -153.31 (Winnipeg Lacus) 60 26 February 2018 Lake Winnipeg, Canada WGPSN
Xolotlán Lacus 82°18′N 72°54′W / 82.3°N 72.9°W / 82.3; -72.9 (Xolotlan Lacus) 57.4 7 August 2017 Lake Xolotlán, Nicaragua WGPSN
Yessey Lacus 73°00′N 110°48′W / 73°N 110.8°W / 73; -110.8 (Yessey Lacus) 24.5 26 June 2017 Lake Yessey, Siberia, Russia WGPSN
Yojoa Lacus 78°06′N 54°06′W / 78.1°N 54.1°W / 78.1; -54.1 (Yojoa Lacus) 58.3 7 August 2017 Lake Yojoa, Honduras WGPSN
Ypoa Lacus 73°24′N 132°12′W / 73.4°N 132.2°W / 73.4; -132.2 (Ypoa Lacus) 39.2 6 June 2017 Lake Ypoá, Paraguay WGPSN
Zaza Lacus 72°24′N 106°54′W / 72.4°N 106.9°W / 72.4; -106.9 (Zaza Lacus) 29 26 June 2017 Zaza Reservoir, Cuba WGPSN
Zub Lacus 71°42′N 102°36′W / 71.7°N 102.6°W / 71.7; -102.6 (Zub Lacus) 19.5 7 August 2017 Zub Lake, Antarctica WGPSN

Lakebed names of Titan[edit]

Lacunae Coordinates Length (km) Approval Date Named after Ref
Atacama Lacuna 68°12′N 227°36′W / 68.2°N 227.6°W / 68.2; -227.6 (Atacama Lacuna) 35.9 21 December 2010 Salar de Atacama, intermittent lake in Chile WGPSN
Cerknica Lacuna 71°07′N 175°34′W / 71.12°N 175.56°W / 71.12; -175.56 (Cerknica Lacuna) 96 13 April 2022 Intermittent lake in Slovenia WGPSN
Eyre Lacuna 72°36′N 225°06′W / 72.6°N 225.1°W / 72.6; -225.1 (Eyre Lacuna) 25.4 21 December 2010 Lake Eyre, an intermittent lake in Australia WGPSN
Jerid Lacuna 66°42′N 221°00′W / 66.7°N 221°W / 66.7; -221 (Jerid Lacuna) 42.6 21 December 2010 Chott el Djerid, intermittent lake in Tunisia WGPSN
Kutch Lacuna 88°24′N 217°00′W / 88.4°N 217°W / 88.4; -217 (Kutch Lacuna) 175 3 December 2013 Great Rann of Kutch, intermittent lake on Pakistani-Indian border WGPSN
Melrhir Lacuna 64°54′N 212°36′W / 64.9°N 212.6°W / 64.9; -212.6 (Melrhir Lacuna) 23 21 December 2010 Chott Melrhir, intermittent lake in Algeria WGPSN
Nakuru Lacuna 65°49′N 94°00′W / 65.81°N 94°W / 65.81; -94 (Nakuru Lacuna) 188 3 December 2013 Lake Nakuru, intermittent lake in Kenya WGPSN
Ngami Lacuna 66°42′N 213°54′W / 66.7°N 213.9°W / 66.7; -213.9 (Ngami Lacuna) 37.2 21 December 2010 Lake Ngami, in Botswana, and like its terrestrial namesake is considered to be endorheic. WGPSN
Orog Lacuna 70°51′N 172°04′W / 70.85°N 172.06°W / 70.85; -172.06 (Orog Lacuna) 42 13 April 2022 Intermittent lake in Mongolia WGPSN
Racetrack Lacuna 66°06′N 224°54′W / 66.1°N 224.9°W / 66.1; -224.9 (Racetrack Lacuna) 9.9 21 December 2010 Racetrack Playa, intermittent lake in California, USA WGPSN
Uyuni Lacuna 66°18′N 228°24′W / 66.3°N 228.4°W / 66.3; -228.4 (Uyuni Lacuna) 27 21 December 2010 Salar de Uyuni, intermittent lake and world's largest salt flat in Bolivia WGPSN
Veliko Lacuna 76°48′S 33°06′W / 76.8°S 33.1°W / -76.8; -33.1 (Veliko Lacuna) 93 20 July 2015 Veliko Lake, intermittent lake in Bosnia-Herzegovina WGPSN
Woytchugga Lacuna 68°53′N 109°00′W / 68.88°N 109.0°W / 68.88; -109.0 (Woytchugga Lacuna) 449 3 December 2013 Indications are that it is an intermittent lake and so was named in 2013 after Lake Woytchugga near Wilcannia, Australia. WGPSN

Bay names of Titan[edit]

Name Coordinates Liquid body Length (km)[note 1] Approval Date Source of name Ref
Arnar Sinus 72°36′N 322°00′W / 72.6°N 322°W / 72.6; -322 (Arnar Sinus) Kraken Mare 101 19 January 2015 Arnar, fjord in Iceland WGPSN
Avacha Sinus 82°52′N 335°26′W / 82.87°N 335.43°W / 82.87; -335.43 (Avacha Sinus) Punga Mare 51 12 March 2020 Avacha Bay in Kamchatka, Russia WGPSN
Baffin Sinus 80°21′N 344°37′W / 80.35°N 344.62°W / 80.35; -344.62 (Baffin Sinus) Kraken Mare 110 9 January 2018 Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland WGPSN
Boni Sinus 78°41′N 345°23′W / 78.69°N 345.38°W / 78.69; -345.38 (Boni Sinus) Kraken Mare 54 9 January 2018 Gulf of Boni in Indonesia WGPSN
Dingle Sinus 81°22′N 336°26′W / 81.36°N 336.44°W / 81.36; -336.44 (Dingle Sinus) Kraken Mare 80 9 January 2018 Dingle Bay in Ireland WGPSN
Fagaloa Sinus 82°54′N 320°30′W / 82.9°N 320.5°W / 82.9; -320.5 (Fagaloa Sinus) Punga Mare 33 14 December 2020 Fagaloa Bay in Upolu Island, Samoa WGPSN
Flensborg Sinus 64°54′N 295°18′W / 64.9°N 295.3°W / 64.9; -295.3 (Flensborg Sinus) Kraken Mare 115 19 January 2015 Flensburg Firth, fjord between Denmark and Germany WGPSN
Fundy Sinus 83°16′N 315°38′W / 83.26°N 315.64°W / 83.26; -315.64 (Fundy Sinus) Punga Mare 91 12 March 2020 Bay of Fundy in Canada that hosts the world's largest tides[57] WGPSN
Gabes Sinus 67°36′N 289°36′W / 67.6°N 289.6°W / 67.6; -289.6 (Gabes Sinus) Kraken Mare 147 19 January 2015 Gabes, or Syrtis minor, a bay in Tunisia WGPSN
Genova Sinus 80°07′N 326°37′W / 80.11°N 326.61°W / 80.11; -326.61 (Genova Sinus) Kraken Mare 125 9 January 2018 Gulf of Genoa in Italy WGPSN
Kumbaru Sinus 56°48′N 303°48′W / 56.8°N 303.8°W / 56.8; -303.8 (Kumbaru Sinus) Kraken Mare 122 19 January 2015 Bay in India WGPSN
Lulworth Sinus 67°11′N 316°53′W / 67.19°N 316.88°W / 67.19; -316.88 (Lulworth Sinus) Kraken Mare 24 12 March 2020 Lulworth Cove in southern England WGPSN
Maizuru Sinus 78°54′N 352°32′W / 78.9°N 352.53°W / 78.9; -352.53 (Maizuru Sinus) Kraken Mare 92 9 January 2018 Maizuru Bay in Japan WGPSN
Manza Sinus 79°17′N 346°06′W / 79.29°N 346.1°W / 79.29; -346.1 (Manza Sinus) Kraken Mare 37 9 January 2018 Manza Bay in Tanzania WGPSN
Montego Sinus 80°46′N 130°55′W / 80.76°N 130.92°W / 80.76; -130.92 (Montego Sinus) 83 13 April 2022 Montego Bay in Jamaica WGPSN
Moray Sinus 76°36′N 281°24′W / 76.6°N 281.4°W / 76.6; -281.4 (Moray Sinus) Kraken Mare 204 19 January 2015 Moray Firth in Scotland WGPSN
Nicoya Sinus 74°48′N 251°12′W / 74.8°N 251.2°W / 74.8; -251.2 (Nicoya Sinus) Ligeia Mare 130 19 January 2015 Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica WGPSN
Okahu Sinus 73°42′N 282°00′W / 73.7°N 282°W / 73.7; -282 (Okahu Sinus) Kraken Mare 141 19 January 2015 Okahu Bay near Auckland, New Zealand WGPSN
Patos Sinus 77°12′N 224°48′W / 77.2°N 224.8°W / 77.2; -224.8 (Patos Sinus) Ligeia Mare 103 19 January 2015 Patos, fjord in Chile WGPSN
Puget Sinus 82°24′N 241°06′W / 82.4°N 241.1°W / 82.4; -241.1 (Puget Sinus) Ligeia Mare 93 19 January 2015 Puget Sound in Washington, United States WGPSN
Rombaken Sinus 75°18′N 232°54′W / 75.3°N 232.9°W / 75.3; -232.9 (Rombaken Sinus) Ligeia Mare 92.5 19 January 2015 Rombaken, fjord in Norway WGPSN
Saldanha Sinus 82°25′N 322°30′W / 82.42°N 322.5°W / 82.42; -322.5 (Saldanha Sinus) Punga Mare 18 14 December 2020 Saldanha Bay in South Africa WGPSN
Skelton Sinus 76°48′N 314°54′W / 76.8°N 314.9°W / 76.8; -314.9 (Skelton Sinus) Kraken Mare 73 19 January 2015 Skelton Glacier near Ross Sea, Antarctica WGPSN
Trold Sinus 71°18′N 292°42′W / 71.3°N 292.7°W / 71.3; -292.7 (Trold Sinus) Kraken Mare 118 19 January 2015 Trold Fiord Formation in Nunavut, Canada WGPSN
Tumaco Sinus 82°33′N 315°13′W / 82.55°N 315.22°W / 82.55; -315.22 (Puget Sinus) Punga Mare 31 14 December 2020 Tumaco, port city and bay in Colombia WGPSN
Tunu Sinus 79°12′N 299°48′W / 79.2°N 299.8°W / 79.2; -299.8 (Tunu Sinus) Kraken Mare 134 19 January 2015 Tunu, fjord in Greenland WGPSN
Wakasa Sinus 80°42′N 270°00′W / 80.7°N 270°W / 80.7; -270 (Wakasa Sinus) Ligeia Mare 146 19 January 2015 Wakasa Bay in Japan WGPSN
Walvis Sinus 58°12′N 324°06′W / 58.2°N 324.1°W / 58.2; -324.1 (Walvis Sinus) Kraken Mare 253 19 January 2015 Walvis Bay in Namibia WGPSN

Island names of Titan[edit]

Insula Coordinates Liquid body Diameter (km) Approval Date Named after Ref
Bermoothes Insula 67°06′N 317°06′W / 67.1°N 317.1°W / 67.1; -317.1 (Bermoothes Insula) Kraken Mare 124 19 January 2015 Bermoothes, an enchanted island in Shakespeare's Tempest WGPSN
Bimini Insula 73°18′N 305°24′W / 73.3°N 305.4°W / 73.3; -305.4 (Bimini Insula) Kraken Mare 39 19 January 2015 Bimini, island in Arawak legend said to contain the fountain of youth. WGPSN
Bralgu Insula 76°12′N 251°30′W / 76.2°N 251.5°W / 76.2; -251.5 (Bralgu Insula) Ligeia Mare 55 19 January 2015 Baralku, in Yolngu culture, the island of the dead and the place where the Djanggawul, the three creator siblings, originated. WGPSN
Buyan Insula 77°18′N 245°06′W / 77.3°N 245.1°W / 77.3; -245.1 (Buyan Insula) Ligeia Mare 48 19 January 2015 Buyan, a rocky island in Russian folk tales located on the south shore of Baltic Sea WGPSN
Hawaiki Insulae 84°19′N 327°04′W / 84.32°N 327.07°W / 84.32; -327.07 (Hawaiki Insulae) Punga Mare 35 14 December 2020 Hawaiki, original home island of the Polynesian people in local mythology WGPSN
Hufaidh Insulae 67°00′N 320°18′W / 67°N 320.3°W / 67; -320.3 (Hufaidh Insulae) Kraken Mare 152 19 January 2015 Hufaidh, legendary island in the marshes of southern Iraq WGPSN
Krocylea Insulae 69°06′N 302°24′W / 69.1°N 302.4°W / 69.1; -302.4 (Kocylea Insulae) Kraken Mare 74 19 January 2015 Crocylea, mythological Greek island in the Ionian Sea, near Ithaca WGPSN
Mayda Insula 79°06′N 312°12′W / 79.1°N 312.2°W / 79.1; -312.2 (Mayda Insula) Kraken Mare 168 11 April 2008 Mayda, legendary island in the northeast Atlantic WGPSN
Meropis Insula 83°51′N 313°41′W / 83.85°N 313.68°W / 83.85; -313.68 (Meropis Insula) Punga Mare 30 14 December 2020 Meropis, fictional island mentioned by ancient Greek writer Theopompus in his work Philippica WGPSN
Onogoro Insula 83°17′N 311°42′W / 83.28°N 311.7°W / 83.28; -311.7 (Onogoro Insula) Punga Mare 15 14 December 2020 Onogoro Island, Japanese mythological island WGPSN
Penglai Insula 72°12′N 308°42′W / 72.2°N 308.7°W / 72.2; -308.7 (Penglai Insula) Kraken Mare 94 19 January 2015 Penglai, mythological Chinese mountain island where immortals and gods lived. WGPSN
Planctae Insulae 77°30′N 251°18′W / 77.5°N 251.3°W / 77.5; -251.3 (Planctae Insulae) Ligeia Mare 64 19 January 2015 Symplegades, the "clashing rocks" in Bosphorus which only Argo was said to have successfully passed. WGPSN
Royllo Insula 68°18′N 297°12′W / 68.3°N 297.2°W / 68.3; -297.2 (Royllo Insula) Kraken Mare 103 19 January 2015 Royllo, legendary island in the Atlantic, on verge of unknown, near Antilla and Saint Brandan. WGPSN

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The USGS web site gives size as a "diameter", but it is actually the length in the longest dimension.


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