AskDefine | Define chasm

Dictionary Definition

chasm n : a deep opening in the earth's surface

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl la chasma, from etyl grc χὰσμα.


  • a AU /ˈtʃæˌzəm/
  • a UK /ˈkazəm/
  • a US /ˈkæzəm/


  1. A deep, steep-sided rift, gap or fissure; a gorge or abyss
  2. In the context of "by extension": A large difference of opinion.


difference of opinion

Extensive Definition

In geology, a rift is a place where the Earth's crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart, an example of extensional tectonics. Typical features are a central linear downdropped fault segment, called a graben, with parallel normal faulting and rift-flank uplifts on either side forming a rift valley, where the rift remains above sea level. The axis of the rift area commonly contains volcanic rocks and active volcanism is a part of many but not all active rift systems. Rifts are distinct from Mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust and lithosphere is created by seafloor spreading. In rifts, no crust or lithosphere is produced. If rifting continues, eventually a mid-ocean ridge may form, marking a divergent boundary between two tectonic plates. Failed rifts, which may be ancient or modern, are where continental rifting began, but then failed to continue to the point of break-up. Typically the transition from rifting to spreading develops as three converging rifts over a hotspot. Two of these evolve to the point of seafloor spreading, while the third ultimately fails, becoming an aulacogen.


chasm in Tosk Albanian: Grabenbruch
chasm in Czech: Rift
chasm in German: Grabenbruch
chasm in Spanish: Zona rift
chasm in French: Rift
chasm in Italian: Rift
chasm in Dutch: Rift
chasm in Polish: Ryft
chasm in Portuguese: Rift
chasm in Russian: Рифт
chasm in Slovak: Rift
chasm in Finnish: Hautavajoama
chasm in Swedish: Gravsänka
chasm in Ukrainian: Рифтогенез

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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