Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso


  • Stephan van GasseltEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1377



Rilles (derived from the German term in geomorphology for grooves) are elongated and narrow depressions on the lunar surface with a high length-to-width ratio resembling channel-like features. Rilles are of endogenic origin: the so-called arcuate and sinuous rilles are both associated with volcanism and lava and are due to contraction cooling and subsidence or collapsed lava tubes, respectively. The so-called straight rilles are considered to be of tectonic origin and caused by the extension of the  crust.

Though similar features exist on other  terrestrial planets, the term “rille” is generally reserved for lunar surface features.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Institute of Geological SciencesFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany