Sinuous Rilles and Lava Tubes
Section M.
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Sinuous Rilles and Lava Tubes

Vallis Schroteri Lava tubes are caves on the moon, formed when molten rock flowed over the surface after a major meteor strike or a volcanic event early in Luna's history. They are geological interesting, but their greatest treasure lies in the promise of protection they offer for human lunar settlements.

Sinuous rilles appear to be lava tubes that formed on surface of the moon, and then collapsed. Some may be frozen lava channels that never formed into a tube. No intact lava tube has been found on the lunar surface, though many sinuous rilles appear to be partially collapsed lava tubes. Geological theory protects that we will find intact lava tubes beneath the lunar surface, perhaps as deep as a mile and perhaps as large as half a mile in diameter and hundreds of miles long.

The photograph at the left is the largest known sinuous rille on the moon, Vallis Schroteri, located near 26°N 208°E on the plateau of Aristarchus crater. Vallis Schroeteri si about 160 km long, up to 11 km wide, and 1 km deep. North is toward the top of the photo.

Because they could be so important to lunar settlement, lava tubes are addressed in several sections of the Artemis Data Book. In this section, we are concerned with the known geology and scientific parameters of lava tubes. In other sections we discuss how to find them, how to use them, and their importance to the lunar community.

Additional References to lava tubes in other sections the Artemis Data Book

How Lava Tubes Form
Section 8.4. Oregon Moonbase.
Uses for Lunar Lava Tubes

Nearby Topics

Appendix M 4.2.1. Volcanic Landforms
   M. Sinuous Rilles and Lava Tubes
   M. Mare Domes
   M. Lava Terraces
   M. Cinder Cones
   M. Dark-haloed Craters and Pyroclastic Deposits

Articles About This Topic

Lava Tube Formation and Characteristics

Lunar Lava Tube Dimensions

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