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[grah-buh n] /ˈgrɑ bən/
a portion of the earth's crust, bounded on at least two sides by faults, that has dropped downward in relation to adjacent portions.
Also called rift valley.
Compare horst.
1895-1900; < German: ditch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for graben
  • The low area between the outermost caldera rim fault and the next fault is a graben.
  • Shield-stage lavas filled the caldera and the graben with thick, ponded flows.
  • The south wing of the building, shown here, collapsed into a graben at the head of the landslide.
  • The half graben may have developed as a pull-apart basin or by block rotation in a strike-slip fault or oblique subduction system.
British Dictionary definitions for graben


an elongated trough of land produced by subsidence of the earth's crust between two faults
Word Origin
C19: from German, from Old High German graban to dig
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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graben in Science
A usually elongated block of rock that is bounded by parallel geologic faults along its two longest sides, and has a lower elevation than the rock at its sides. Grabens form where rock is being pulled apart by tectonic forces. The East African Rift Valley is a graben.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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