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Part of Ithaca Chasma, a chasma on Saturn's moon Tethys


From Ancient Greek χάσμα ‎(khásma, cleft, abyss).


chasma ‎(plural chasmata)

  1. (astronomy, geology) A long, narrow, steep-sided depression on a planet (other than Earth), a moon, or another body in the solar system.
    • 1991, NASA Technical Memorandum, page 99:
      The location of Odysseus near the center of the great circle of Ithaca Chasma led early to the suggestion that Ithaca was genetically related to the Odysseus impact (Smith et al, 1982).
    • 2007, Mary Chapman, The Geology of Mars: Evidence from Earth-Based Analogs, page 203:
      Assuming a subglacial or subaqueous setting for the ILDs, a simple tectonic control (and associated rupture of a confined aquifer) alone seems an unlikely trigger for ILD volcanism, or we should also observe ILDs in the linear chasmata, for which a tectonic setting is most likely and in which ILDs are absent. We suggest that the method of formation of the elliptical chasmata and the ILDs may be genetically related.
    • 2014, Donald L. Turcotte, Geodynamics[1], page 83:
      The near circular trough of the Artemis chasma has a diameter of 2100 km. The concentric features outside the chasma are attributed to normal faulting associated with lithospheric flexure similar to that occurring seaward of subduction zones on the Earth.
  2. (astronomy, obsolete, rare) An aurora.
    • 1814, The Annals of Philosophy[2], volume 4, page 427:
      Thus Cornelius Gemma, Professor of Medicine in Louvain, mentions them under the name of chasma, as appearing in Brabant on the 13th February and 28th September, 1575.
    • 1822, Samuel Burder, Oriental Literature Applied to the Illustration of the Sacred Scripture[3]:
      [] that at Falerii the Heaven seemed to be rent with a vast chasm; and that where it was opened, a great light shone forth. Such phenomena the Roman naturalists called chasmata, chasms, as we learn from Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. ii. cap. 26. and Seneta, Nat. Quæst. lib. i. cap. 14.
    • 1891, The Encyclopædia Britannica[4], volume 3, Aurora Polaris, page 79:
      They were called by the ancients chasmata, bolides, and trabes, according to their forms and colors.



Borrowing from Ancient Greek χάσμα ‎(khásma)


chasma n ‎(genitive chasmatis); third declension

  1. A chasm, abyss
  2. A kind of meteor


Third declension neuter.

Case Singular Plural
nominative chasma chasmata
genitive chasmatis chasmatum
dative chasmatī chasmatibus
accusative chasma chasmata
ablative chasmate chasmatibus
vocative chasma chasmata