Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_29


These are large, quasi-circular, volcanic depressions with diameters considerably larger than any included vent, with diameters greater than 1 km on Earth and greater than 10 km for planetary calderas (Mouginis-Mark and Rowland 2001). These landforms result from paroxysmal explosions and/or gravitational collapse into an evacuated or partially drained near-surface magma storage complex or magma chamber. Smaller ones (i.e., on Earth, those that have diameters less than 1 km) are classified as pit craters (Williams and McBirney 1979; Walker 1988; Mouginis-Mark and Rowland 2001). Calderas on Venus are defined to be “circular to elongate depressions characterized mainly by concentric pattern of enveloping fractures and other geologic characteristics indicative of a depression” (Head et al. 1992; Crumpler et al. 1997), similar to calderas as defined on Earth.


Cauldron; Patera


These are quasi-circular volcanic depressions bounded by concentric ring faults.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lunar and Planetary InstituteUSRAHoustonUSA