Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Sinuous Ridge

  • Maria BanksAffiliated withCenter for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space MuseumPlanetary Science Institute Email author 
  • , Jarmo KorteniemiAffiliated withEarth and Space Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oulu
  • , Henrik HargitaiAffiliated withPlanetary Science Research Group, Eötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences


Elongate, positive-relief landforms that have a planform with multiple curves.


Sinuous ridges vary in their length, width, height, cross-sectional shape, degree of sinuosity, and other detailed characteristics depending on the formation mechanism. They can be up to several kilometers wide, hundreds of meters in height, and hundreds of kilometers in length (e.g., Lucchitta et al. 1986; Parker et al. 1986; Ruff and Greeley 1990; Pain et al. 2007; Burr et al. 2009).


  1. (1)

    By ridge pattern in plan view: low sinuosity to meandering ridges.

  2. (2)

    By network pattern: isolated, subparallel, branched (including dendritic, tributary, and/or distributary networks, Fig. 1), random. Some ridges form ridge complexes described as shallow moat–ridge–fan assemblages (Kite 2012) (Fig. 2a).

  3. (3)

    By ridge morphology: cross-sectional shapes are flat (floodplain with scrollbar topography), rounded, thin, wispy (short, narrow, occurring in groups), and multilevel. Multilevel sinuous ridges a ...

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