Reactive ion etching of SiC induced surface damage, e.g., micromasking effect induced coarse and textured surface, is one of the main concerns in the fabrication of SiC based power devices . Based on CHF3 + O2 plasma, 4H-SiC was etched under a wide range of RF power. Extreme coarse and textured etched surfaces were observed under certain etching conditions. A super-linear relationship was found between the surface roughness and RF power when the latter was varied from 40 to 160 W. A further increase in the RF power to 200 W caused the surface roughness to drop abruptly from its maximum value of 182.4 nm to its minimum value of 1.3 nm. Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) results revealed that besides the Al micromasking effect, the carbon residue that formed a carbon-rich layer, could also play a significant role in affecting the surface roughness. Based on the AES results, an alternative explanation on the origin of the coarse surface is proposed.