A circular-shaped crater formed by the sinking or collapse of the ground.
Fissures may erupt from the walls or base
of a pit crater, but pit craters are not constructional features built by
eruptions of lava or tephra.
Pit craters may also partially fill with lava to form a lava
lake. They are common along rift zones of shield
volcanoes; for example, Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes in Hawai'i.
No one has observed the formation of a large pit crater, but they are thought
to form as a consequence of the removal of support by withdrawal of underlying
|Aerial view of Hi`iaka pit crater on the east rift
zone of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i. The floor of the crater is covered
by solidified lava that poured into the crater from the lower right
(note black lava flow at crater rim). Credit: J. D. Griggs / U.S.
AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
Source: U.S. Geological Survey