Planetary caves: A Solar System view of processes and products

JGR Planets
By: , and 



We provide the first solar system wide compendium of speleogenic processes and products. An examination of 15 solar system bodies revealed that six cave-forming processes occur beyond Earth including volcanic (cryo and magmatic), fracturing (tectonic and impact melt), dissolution, sublimation, suffusion, and landslides. Although no caves (i.e., confirmed entrances with associated linear passages) have been confirmed, 3,545 SAPs (subsurface access points) have been identified on 11 planetary bodies and the potential for speleogenic processes (and thus SAPs) was observed on an additional four planetary bodies. The bulk of our knowledge on extraterrestrial SAPs is based upon global databases for the Moon and Mars, which are bodies for which high-resolution imagery and other data are available. To further characterize most of the features beyond the Moon and Mars, acquisition (preferably global coverage) and subsequent analysis of high-resolution imagery will be required. The next few decades hold considerable promise for identifying and potentially characterizing caves across the solar system.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Planetary caves: A Solar System view of processes and products
Series title JGR Planets
DOI 10.1029/2022JE007303
Edition Online First
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Other Geospatial Solar System
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