Lava tubes and channels develop around active sources of low viscosity lava. The channels normally form without erosion; however, sustained flow can result in the incision of a lava channel and simulation of fluvial erosion features. Lava erosion by means of thermal incision was modelled by computer, erosion rates calculated, and these compared with rates observed terrestrially. Lunar sinuous rilles are examined in light of the proposed lava erosion. The mechanism explains many features of lunar rilles that were heretofore puzzling and implies erosion rates comparable to terrestrial rates. Many Mars channels also appear to form by the action of lava; however, the larger, more spectacular Mars channels do not appear to have been formed by the same process. ?? 1974.
Additional publication details
The role of lava erosion in the formation of lunar rilles and Martian channels