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A structural origin for the cantaloupe terrain of TritonCantaloupe terrain is unique to Triton. It is Triton's oldest terrain and includes about 250,000 km sq. region displaying sparsely cratered, closely spaced, nearly circular dimples about 30-40 km across. This terrain is found on no other planet because, only on Triton the final major global thermal pulse (1) caused completed (or nearly) interior melting resulting in a cooling history where large thermal stresses shattered and contorted a thin, weak lithosphere, and (2) occurred after heavy bombardment so that the surface features were preserved. The cantaloupe terrain is composed of intersecting sets of structures (folds and/or faults) that have developed as a result of global compression generated by volumetric changes associated with cooling of Triton's interior. Further, it is proposed that these structures developed after the period of heavy bombardment, and resulted from the last major global thermal epoch in Triton's unique history (either caused by tidal or radio metric heating). Initially, as the body cooled and the structures formed, their surface topography was most likely modified by thermal relaxation of the warm surface ices. In other bodies like Mercury, thermal stresses generated from global cooling and contraction have resulted in widely spaced thrust faults, whereas on Triton, thermal stresses produced more closely-spaced folds and faults sets. This difference in structural style is probably due to differences in lithospheric properties (thickness, strength, etc.), the magnitude of stress (directly dependent on the thermal history), and when the structures formed, relative to the period of heavy bombardment.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Boyce, Joseph M.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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