Laser-induced thermal damages of a silicon wafer surface subjected to continuous near-infrared laser irradiation were investigated. Silicon wafer specimens were illuminated by a continuous-wave fiber laser beam (1070-nm wavelength) with irradiances from 93 to 186 W/cm 2 , and the surface morphology of each specimen was analyzed using optical microscopy. With increasing irradiance, straight cracks in the <110> direction appeared first, and partial melting and complete melting were subsequently observed. The mechanism of these laser-induced thermal damages in the silicon wafer surface was discussed with numerical analysis based on the heat transfer and thermoelasticity model. The irradiances initiating the cracking and melting were predicted by determining the irradiances in which the calculated thermal stress and temperature exceeded the corresponding limits of the fracture strength and melting point, respectively. These predictions agreed well with the experimental findings. Laser-induced thermal damages of the silicon wafer surface subjected to a continuous near-infrared laser irradiation were identified based on these investigations.