A graben is a valley with a distinct escarpment on each side caused by the displacement of a block of land downward. Graben often occur side-by-side with horsts. Horst and graben structures indicate tensional forces and crustal stretching.
Graben are produced from parallel normal faults, where the displacement of the hanging wall is downward, while that of the footwall is upward. The faults typically dip toward the center of the graben from both sides. Horsts are parallel blocks that remain between graben; the bounding faults of a horst typically dip away from the center line of the horst.
Single or multiple graben can produce a rift valley.
In many rifts the graben are asymmetric, with a major fault along only one of the boundaries, and these are known as half-graben. The polarity (throw direction) of the main bounding faults typically alternate along the length of the rift. The asymmetry of a half-graben strongly affects syntectonic deposition. Comparatively little sediment enters the half-graben across the main bounding fault, due to the effects of footwall uplift on the drainage systems. The exception is at any major offset in the bounding fault, where a relay ramp may provide an important sediment input point. Most of the sediment will enter the half-graben down the unfaulted hanging wall side (e.g. Lake Baikal).
- Basin and Range Province of southwestern North America is an example of multiple horst/graben structures, including Death Valley, with Salt Lake Valley being the easternmost and Owens Valley being the westernmost.
- Rio Grande Rift Valley in Colorado/New Mexico/Texas of the United States
- Rhine valley to the north of Basel, Switzerland
- Oslo graben around Oslo, Norway
- East African Rift Valley
- Saguenay Graben, Quebec, Canada
- Narmada River valley in central India
- lower Godavari River valley in southern India
- Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben in Ontario and Quebec, Canada
- Lambert Graben in Antarctica
- Gulf St Vincent in South Australia, Australia
- Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Central Lowlands (Midland Valley) of Scotland
- Baikal Rift Zone, Siberia, Russia
- Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, US
- Lake George (New York), US
- Santa Clara Valley, California, US
- Guatemala City valley, Guatemala
- Büyük Menderes Graben, Turkey
- Unzen Graben in Japan
- Republic Graben in Republic, Washington
- Worcester Basin, England
- Moma Graben in the Sakha Republic, Russia
- Rough Creek Graben in western Kentucky