Linear Rille

  • Amanda L. Nahm
Living reference work entry


The term linear rille refers to linear, trench-like features on the surface of the Moon (Masursky et al. 1978), typically found in the highlands adjacent to mare-filled basins (Watters and Johnson 2010), though some are observed crosscutting basin maria.


A type of rille on the Moon


Rille valley (obsolete, Elger 1895); Straight rille


Linear rilles are the most conspicuous type of tectonic rille observed on the lunar surface and are commonly a few to hundreds of kilometers in length and up to ~5 km in width (Quaide 1965).

In cross section, linear rilles have flat floors and steep walls (Quaide 1965; Golombek and McGill 1983; Watters and Johnson 2010), and, in places, an increase in width is observed as the structures transect older topographic features (McGill 1971; Golombek 1979).

Together, these observations have led to the unanimous interpretation that linear rilles are graben (Baldwin 1963; Quaide 1965; McGill 1971; Head 1974; Lucchitta and...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA