(Released 26 July 2002)
Another in a series of craters with unusual interior deposits, this THEMIS image shows an unnamed crater in the southern hemisphere Pandora Fretum region near the Hellas Basin. Craters with eroded layered deposits are quite common on Mars but the crusty textured domes in the center of the image make this crater more unusual. Looking vaguely like granitic intrusions, there erosional style is distinct from the rest of the interior deposit which shows a very obvious layered morphology. While it is unlikely that the domes are granite plutons, it is possible that they do represent some other shallowly emplaced magmatic intrusion. More likely still is that variations in induration of the layered deposit allow for variations in the erosional morphology. Note how the surface of the crater floor in the northernmost portion of the image has a texture similar to that of the domes. This may represent an incipient form of the erosion that has produced the domes but has not progressed as far. An analysis of other craters in the area may shed light on the origin of the domes.