Edge detection applied to Cassini images reveals no measurable displacement of Ontario Lacus' margin between 2005 and 2010

Thomas Cornet, Olivier Bourgeois, Stéphane Le Mouélic, Sébastien Rodriguez, Christophe Sotin, Jason W. Barnes, Robert H. Brown, Kevin H. Baines, Bonnie J. Buratti, Roger N. Clark, Phillip D. Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


[1] Ontario Lacus is thus far the largest flat-floored topographic depression of Titan's southern hemisphere interpreted as a permanent or ephemeral lake. From 2005 to 2010, it was imaged several times and at various wavelengths by ISS, VIMS and RADAR instruments onboard Cassini's spacecraft. We analyze the position and uncertainty of Ontario Lacus' margin in all these images using an edge detection method based on image derivation. We find that, given the range of uncertainties in contour locations derived from images, no measurable displacement of Ontario Lacus' margin can be detected between 2005 and 2010 at the actual image spatial resolutions. The discrepancy between this result and previous ones is attributable to differences in (1) the basics behind the methods used, (2) the actual spatial resolutions and contrasts of the available images due to differential atmospheric scattering effects at different wavelengths, and (3) the geomorphological interpretation of contours derived from images acquired at different wavelengths. This lack of measurable displacement in the images suggests that the imaged contour corresponds either (1) to the border of a surface liquid body, provided that potential changes in its extent over five terrestrial years were not sufficiently large to be measured, or (2) to the stationary topographic border between Ontario Lacus' depression and the surrounding alluvial plain. Potential displacements of Ontario Lacus' margin between 2005 and 2010 are thus below the actual resolution of currently available images or have to be sought for within the extent of the topographic depression rather than along its borders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE07005
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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