Helfenstein, P., Giese, B., Perry, J., Roatsch, T., Veverka, J., Thomas, P.C., Denk, T., Neukum, G., Porco, C. (2010). "Leading-Side Terrains on Enceladus: Clues to Early Volcanism and Tectonism from Cassini ISS" Abstract P23C-04 presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec..
Until November 2009 the relation of the tectonic styles on the leading hemisphere of Enceladus to those elsewhere on the satellite were unclear. Cassini's ISS Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) acquired high-resolution mosaics of the leading hemisphere for the first time during three close flybys, one on November 21, 2009, another on May 18, 2010, and a third on August 13, 2010, respectively.|
The new mosaics show that the leading side has distinct geological provinces that exhibit diverse tectonic styles and different cratering histories. The highly tectonised terrains are bounded by a prominent broad annulus of grooved and striated terrains that ranges from about 60 km to over 140 km in width. It surrounds a complex arrangement of tectonic structures, including a conspicuous province near 30°N, 90°W of curvilinear massifs and roughly orthogonal-trending ridged-troughs that define a crudely radial and concentric pattern relative to a point near 25°N, 125°W. This angular sector, about 65° in width, may be the partial remains of an ancient impact basin with a diameter of about 180 km. It could also be the surface expression of an ancient, large diapir. The peculiar quasi-radial ridged-troughs resemble extinct, topographically degraded examples of tiger stripes seen elsewhere on Enceladus. While these features may have a different fracture origin from tiger stripes, their comparable morphology suggests that long ago they may have expressed a similar style of fissure volcanism.
Among our other significant findings is a region near 10°S, 60°W of rounded, rope-like sub-parallel ridges similar to ropy (funiscular) plains materials previously found only in the South Polar Terrain region near active tiger stripes. We suggest that the pattern of ropy ridges on the leading hemisphere arose from a similar style of tectonic deformation that produced the South Polar funiscular plains - a terrain that is closely related to possible folding and tectonic spreading associated with the tiger stripes. These features may thus record an ancient episode of South Polar style tectonism and volcanism near the equator. This hypothesis is consistent with the observed presence of viscously relaxed impact craters at the boundaries of the tectonically modified leading-side terrains as probes of a formerly elevated regional heat flux.