Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Desiccation Crack Polygon

  • Mohamed Ramy El-MaarryEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_111


Drying-induced fractures in a geologic material aligned in a polygonal pattern.


A type of  patterned ground.

A type of  shrinkage crack polygons.

Polygon types proposed to form by desiccation:  crater floor polygons.



Polygonal pattern outlined by a network of desiccation cracks or fissures developed in fine-grained soil material (El Maarry et al. 2012). They typically intersect at right angles, exhibiting T-junctions (Weinberger 1999 and references therein). Their morphology can be 4, 3, 5, and 6 sided (in the order of decreasing abundance); they can be oriented or arcuate (Picard and High 1973, pp. 105–110). Mud shrinkage cracks often have curled rims (Kargel 2004, p. 271) or mud curls formed by peeling (Style et al. 2011). Their morphology is similar to that of  thermal contraction crack polygons.


On Earth, desiccation polygons can span different sizes ranging from...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physikalisches Institut, Bern UniversitätBernSwitzerland