Kraken Mare

Kraken Mare /ˈkrɑːkən ˈmɑːr/ is the largest known body of liquid on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. It was discovered by the space probe Cassini and was named in 2008 after the Kraken, a legendary sea monster.[1]

Kraken Mare
PIA17655 Kraken Mare crop no labels.jpg
False-color mosaic of synthetic aperture radar images showing all of Kraken Mare. The large island Mayda Insula is left of top center, and Jingpo Lacus is at upper left. A portion of Ligeia Mare enters the view at top right.
Feature typeMare
Coordinates68°N 310°W / 68°N 310°W / 68; -310Coordinates: 68°N 310°W / 68°N 310°W / 68; -310
Diameter1,170 km[note 1]


At 500,000 km²,[2] Kraken Mare is thought to be the largest body of liquid in Titan's north polar region.[1] Its status as a sea of hydrocarbons (mainly liquid methane) was identified by radar imagery. Kraken Mare is thought to be larger than the Caspian Sea on Earth. Analyses of the Cassini radar altimeter data used as a sounder have shown that, while the main body of Kraken Mare is at least 100 m deep and likely deeper than 300 m,[3] one of its northernmost bays (Moray Sinus) has a depth of 85 (-18, +28) m at its center and shows an attenuation of the signal in the liquid that is compatible with a composition of 70% methane, 16% nitrogen and 14% ethane (assuming ideal mixing).[4] Shallow capillary waves 1.5 centimeters high moving at 0.7 meters per second have been detected on the surface of Kraken Mare. [5]

An island in the sea is named Mayda Insula. Kraken Mare may be hydrologically connected to the second-largest sea on Titan, Ligeia Mare.[6]

The narrow constriction in the sea at 317°W, 67°N, about 17 km wide and similar in size to the Strait of Gibraltar, officially named Seldon Fretum,[7] has been termed the 'Throat of Kraken' and suggested to be a location of significant currents.[8] Titan's orbital eccentricity may lead to tides of 1 m in Kraken Mare, generating currents here of 0.5 m/s and possibly whirlpools.[6]

As part of the proposed Titan Saturn System Mission, a probe would splash down on Kraken Mare in order to scrutinize its composition, depth and numerous other properties.



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


  1. ^ a b "Kraken Mare". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  2. ^ Hayes, Alexander G. (2016-06-29). "The Lakes and Seas of Titan". Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 44 (1): 57–83. doi:10.1146/annurev-earth-060115-012247. ISSN 0084-6597.
  3. ^ Poggiali, Valerio (November 12, 2020). "The Bathymetry of Moray Sinus at titan's Kraken Mare". J Geophys Res Planets. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  4. ^ Poggiali, Valerio (November 12, 2020). "The Bathymetry of Moray Sinus at titan's Kraken Mare". J Geophys Res Planets. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  5. ^ Hand, Eric (December 16, 2014). "Spacecraft spots probable waves on Titan's seas". Science. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  6. ^ a b Lorenz, R. D. (2014). The Throat of Kraken : Tidal Dissipation and Mixing Timescales in Titan’s Largest Sea (PDF). 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2014). The Woodlands, Texas. p. 1476. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  7. ^ "Seldon Fretum". USGS planetary nomenclature page. USGS. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
  8. ^ Rincon, P. (2014-03-18). "'Waves' detected on Titan moon's lakes". BBC web site. BBC. Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-06-09.

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