Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Skylight

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_342

Definition

An opening in the roof of a cave or lava tube that admits light into subsurface cavernous space (Larson 1992).

Category

A type of  pit

Synonyms

Atypical pit crater (Cushing et al. 2007; Cushing 2012); Breakdown;  Ceiling collapse;  Collapse hole;  Collapse pit;  Drainback; Entrance; Pit or steep walled pit (Robinson et al. 2012); Vertical hole (Haruyama et al. 2009); Well; Window.

Description

Skylights are rimless openings in the roof of a subsurface void space. They tend to exhibit steep walls, can have either flat or sloping floors, and the associated roofs often overhang subsurface caverns. Pit craters do not access significant subsurface spaces; thus, they are not skylights (Halliday et al. 2012).

Morphometry

  • Mars: Observed diameters range from 100 m to 225 m, and derived minimum depths range between 68 m and 130 m (Cushing et al. 2007).

  • Moon: Measured diameters range from 13 m to 140 m, with calculated depths ranging from 5 m to 105 m (Robinson et al. 2012; Wagner and...

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References

  1. Ashley JW, Robinson MS, Hawke BR, van der Bogert CH, Hiesinger H, Sato H, Speyerer EJ, Enns AC, Wagner RV, Young KE, Burns KN (2012) Geology of the King crater region: New insights into impact melt dynamics on the Moon. J Geophys Res 117:E00H29. doi:10.1029/2011JE003990Google Scholar
  2. Cushing GE (2012) Candidate cave entrances on Mars. J Cave Karst Stud 74(1):33–47. doi:10.4311/ 2010EX0167RCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cushing GE, Titus TN, Wynne JJ, Chrystensen PR (2007) THEMIS observes possible cave skylights on Mars. Geophys Res Lett 34:L17201. doi:10.1029/2007GL030709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ferrill DA, Wyrick DY, Morris AP, Sims DW, Franklin NM (2004) Dilational fault slip and pit chain formation on Mars. GSA Today 14(10): 4–12Google Scholar
  5. Ferrill DA, Wyrick DY, Smart KJ (2011) Coseismic, dilational-fault and extension-fracture related pit chain formation in Iceland: Analog for pit chains on Mars. Lithosphere 3:133–142Google Scholar
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  7. Halliday WR (1996) Recent volcanospeleological progress in Hawaii. In: Oromí P (ed) In: 7th International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands, 1994, pp 51–58Google Scholar
  8. Halliday WR, Stefansson A, Favre G (2011) Pit craters and open vertical volcanic conduits of Earth and Mars. GSA annual meeting, Minneapolis, 9–12 Oct 2011, #189935Google Scholar
  9. Halliday W, Favre G, Stefansson A, Whitfield P, Banks N (2012) Occurrence and absence of lava tube caves with some other volcanic cavities; a consideration of human habitation sites on Mars. Lunar Planet Sci Conf 43, abstract #1613, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  10. Haruyama J, Hioki K, Shirao KM, Morota T, Hiesinger H, van der Bogert CH, Miyamoto H, Iwasaki A, Yokota Y, Ohtake M, Matsunaga T, Hara S, Nakanotani S, Pieters CM (2009) Possible lunar lava tube skylight observed by SELENE cameras. Geophys Res Lett 36:L21206. doi:10.1029/2009GL040635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  13. Leone G (2014) A network of lava tubes as the origin of Labyrinthus Noctis and Valles Marineris on Mars. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 277: 1–8Google Scholar
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  16. Skinner E (1993) Open vertical volcanic conduits: a preliminary investigation of an unusual volcanic cave form, with examples from Newberry volcano and the central high cascades of Oregon. In: Halliday WR (ed) In: Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Vulcanospeleology, Oregon, 30 July–1 Aug 1982. International Speleological Foundation, pp 7–17Google Scholar
  17. Wagner RV, Robinson MS (2014) Distribution, formation mechanisms, and significance of lunar pits. Icarus 237:52–60Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PlanetologieWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA