Bright Material on Crater Floor

This image shows part of a crater wall and floor, where the floor is covered by dunes and distinct regions of bright material. The bright material stands higher than the rest of the floor suggesting that it is more resistant to erosion than surrounding materials.

It is possible that more and more bright material will be exposed over time; why the material is bright is unknown. The material might be evaporites, that form when salt water dries up and leaves behind salt deposits (the evaporites).

Also in this scene is a crater with a ridge running up to its west (left) side. The ridge is lighter and might be evidence that water flowed through it, bleaching the rocks as it went. The water might have cemented the soil, causing it to be more resistant to erosion and high standing as seen today.

Written by: Kelly Kolb   (18 March 2008)

More info and image formats at

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona