Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version

Inverted channel

  • Alexandra LefortAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The University of Tennessee Email author 
  • , Rebecca WilliamsAffiliated withPlanetary Science Institute
  • , Jarmo KorteniemiAffiliated withEarth and Space Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oulu


Curving ridges along ancient fluvial valleys produced by a cementation hardened layer, clast armoring, or lava infilling of the fluvial valleys, followed by erosion of the less-resistant surrounding terrains.


Potential origin for a type of sinuous ridge on Mars.


Inverted paleochannel; Inverted valley; Raised channel


Curving ridges that appear to be capped with a competent layer that is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding material.


Differential aeolian erosion: relief inversion may occur in locations that exhibit considerable erosion causing exposure of formerly filled and buried landforms (Weitz et al. 2010).

An inverted channel starts to form when the channel floor material obtains greater resistance than the surrounding terrain. This may occur (1) by channel bed sediment induration through geochemical cementation in the presence of water or armoring of the channel floor by coarse-grained, highly erosion resistant sediments, or (2) b ...

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