Scour Marks

Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history



Scour marks are negative relief features produced as a result of erosion of a sediment surface by the current flowing over it (Reineck and Singh 1980), formed via the impingement of usually sediment-laden eddies on beds (Dzulynsky and Saunders 1962).


  1. (1)

    Longitudinal grooves or “furrows and ridges”: U-shaped depressions – gouges – open ended at both ends, with subparallel sides occurring on the top surfaces, on the upwind sides of rocks with horizontal or gently inclined surfaces (Fig. 1). (Cf. km-scale grooves: mega-yardang; megascale glacial lineations).

  2. (2)
    Flute (flute mark) (Figs. 2, 3, and 4): U-shaped, closed-ended (at the upstream end), near-linear depression. Transitional form between pits and grooves. This type of scour mark is not considered to be linear or transverse; they have comparatively equal downstream and across stream dimensions, with an overall spoon-shaped geometry, and are elliptical or U shaped in planform (Macdonald 2010). They are formed...


High Wind Speed Mineral Inclusion Windward Side Chemical Weathering Incline Surface 
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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Allen JRL (1969) Erosional current marks of weakly cohesive mud beds. J Sediment Petrol 39:607–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen JRL (1971) Transverse erosional marks of mud and rock: their physical basis and geological significance. Sediment Geol 5:167–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bourke M, Viles H (eds) (2007) A photographic atlas of rock breakdown features in geomorphic environments. Planetary Science Institute, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  4. Dreimanis A (1999) A need of three-dimensional analysis of structural elements in glacial deposits for determination of direction of glacier movement. In: Mickelson DM, Attig JW (eds) Glacial processes past and present, Geological Society of America special paper 337. Geological Society of America, Boulder, pp 59–67Google Scholar
  5. Dzulynsky S, Saunders JE (1962) Bottom marks on firm bottom mud. Trans Conn Acad Arts Sci 42:57–96, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  6. Greeley R et al (2006) Gusev crater: wind-related features and processes observed by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. J Geophys Res 111, E02S09. doi:10.1029/2005JE002491Google Scholar
  7. Head JW, Kreslavsky MA, Marchant DR (2011) Pitted rock surfaces on Mars: a mechanism of formation by transient melting of snow and ice. J Geophys Res 116, E09007. doi:10.1029/2011JE003826Google Scholar
  8. Macdonald H (2010) Flutes, megaflutes and erosional bedforms: a reappraisal of their dynamics. PhD dissertation, The University of LeedsGoogle Scholar
  9. Mandt K, de Silva S, Zimbelman J, Wyrick D (2009) Distinct erosional progressions in the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars, indicate contrasting environmental conditions. Icarus 204:471–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Reineck H-E, Singh IB (1980) Scour marks. In: Depositional sedimentary environments. Study Edition, Springer, pp 73–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Schwegman RD, Bourke MC (2013) Analysis of rock breakdown features at Gusev crater, Mars. 44th Lunar Planet Sci Conf, abstract #3086, HoustonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Budapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary