Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Runoff Channel (Mars)

  • Henrik Hargitai
  • Ákos Kereszturi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_533


Historic term for sinuous elongate troughs on Mars inferred to be formed by surface runoff.

Origin of Term

Runoff channels were originally defined as channels that “start small and increase in size and depth distally. The headwaters usually have tributary branches.” The original definition included not only  valley networks (type example, Ma’adim) but also  amphitheater-headed channels or “ sapping valleys” (type example, Nigral), “dendritic tributaries of Ius trough,” and “slope gullies of Alba, Sinus Sabaeus, and Intra-trough Tableland gullies.” Liquids considered were lava, water, or aqueous solutions (Sharp and Malin 1975). The term runoff channel was used mainly in early publications (e.g., Sharp and Malin 1975). It has since been replaced with the term  valley network by Baker (1981).

History of Investigation

Hartmann (1974) interpreted Martian channels as dry riverbeds and accordingly called them arroyos.

See Also


  1. Baker VR (1981) The channels and valleys of Mars. In: Third international colloquium on Mars, LPI contribution, vol 441, pp 12–14. Pasadena, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  2. Hartmann WK (1974) Geological observations of Martian arroyos. J Geophys Res 79:3951–3957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sharp RP, Malin MC (1975) Channels on Mars. Geol Soc Am Bull 86:593–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Konkoly Thege Miklos Astronomical InstituteResearch Centre for Astronomy and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary