• Gino Erkeling
  • Esther Stouthamer
  • Henrik Hargitai
  • Kirstie Fryirs
Living reference work entry


An open conduit through which some fluid has moved (Sharp and Malin 1975). On Earth, a channel is defined as “the hollow bed where a natural body of surface water flows or may flow. The deepest or central part of the bed of a stream, containing the main current and occupied more or less continuously by water” (NSSH 2008).

Related Terms

Valley, Channel-belt deposit, Macrochannel, Inner channel.

Description and Terminology


On Earth, the term “channel” refers to the bed and bank of a stream, lying at the bottom of a gully, canyon, or valley (Sharp and Malin 1975), but it is also applied to lava channels and submarine channels.

On Mars, it has come to mean any elongate narrow depression of linear, curvilinear, sinuous, or irregular configuration, created by external processes, typically erosion (Sharp and Malin 1975). However, the application of the term “channel” to any linear negative landforms of Mars is inappropriate in terms of strict terminology (Sharp and Malin 1975...


Compound Channel Meandering Channel Outflow Channel Submarine Channel Crevasse Splay 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gino Erkeling
    • 1
  • Esther Stouthamer
    • 2
  • Henrik Hargitai
    • 3
  • Kirstie Fryirs
    • 4
  1. 1.Institut für PlanetologieWestfälische Wilhelms-UniversitätMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physical GeographyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
  3. 3.Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesPlanetary Science Research Group, Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of Environment and GeographyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia