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In recent years, high-spatial frequency laser-induced surfaces structures have been generated in a large variety of dielectrics. In silicon subwavelength ripples, some of which featured periodicities below 100 nm, were formed using ultrafast lasers. We demonstrate for Si(100) surfaces that generation of a dense electron-hole plasma in the focal spot of ultrashort-pulsed laser light followed by massive excitation of plasma waves provides an explanation for the formation of such high-spatial frequency surface structures. The applied Drude-like model includes carrier-carrier collisions and is in excellent agreement with the experimentally observed ripple period.