Mare Ingenii may be best known for its prominent lunar swirls, which are high albedo surface features associated with magnetic anomalies. However, lunar swirls are not the only unique geologic feature found in the farside "sea of cleverness". The high-resolution cameras aboard the Japanese SELENE/Kaguya spacecraft first discovered this irregularly-shaped hole, visible in the opening image at LROC's 0.55 m/pixel resolution. The boulders and debris resting on the floor of the pit are partially illuminated (left side of the pit, above image) and probably originated at the surface, falling through the pit opening during collapse.
A pit in the Marius Hills region, previously discovered by the JAXA SELENE/Kaguya mission, is thought to be a skylight into a lava tube in the rille-riddled region. Similar to the Marius Hills pit, the pit in Mare Ingenii is probably the result of a partially collapsed lava tube. However, the numerous volcanic features of the Marius Hills (such as the prominent rilles and domes) are not found in Mare Ingenii. Why the differences between regions? Future human exploration to this location would surely help scientists answer this question!
Peer into the depths of this exciting LROC NAC frame!
Posted by Lillian Ostrach on June 16, 2010 11:13 UTC.