• Leslie F. BleamasterIII
  • Martin P. A. Jackson
Living reference work entry


Deep, steep-sided, elongated depression.



The terms chasma (chasmata, plural) and canyon are used for several different types of relatively deep, narrow depressions on planetary surfaces, including channels interpreted as formed by fluvial incision and troughs formed by tectonic faulting. The terms chasma and canyon in many cases are used interchangeably.


Canyons may form by several mechanisms that include the following:
  1. (1)

    Fluvial erosion (valley network, channel, valley terrace, slot canyons [extremely narrow and deep bedrock channels])

  2. (2)

    Erosion by turbidity currents (submarine fan)

  3. (3)

    Aeolian erosion (yardang, blowout dune and hollow)

  4. (4)

    Tectonic faulting/rifting (graben)

  5. (5)


  6. (6)

    Collapse due to, for example, karstic or thermokarstic processes (karst, thermokarst landforms)


Prominent Examples

Echus Chasma (Mangold et al. 2008), Melas Chasma (Quantin et al. 2005), Ganges Chasma (Christensen et al. 2003...


Continental Slope Turbidity Current Grand Canyon Fluvial Erosion Fluvial Incision 
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

  • Leslie F. BleamasterIII
    • 1
  • Martin P. A. Jackson
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for the Sciences and InnovationTrinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of GeosciencesThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA