The Giant Volcano Of Mars

Jeff Glennon | March 29th, 2019

On Mars, you can find the largest volcano in the whole solar system, known as Olympus Mons. This massive mountain on Mars is so tall if you were dropped onto the top of it, you may not even know you were on a mountain as the slope would be obscured by the curvature of the planet itself! And not to mention this huge volcano is simply biding its time on the red planet gearing up for its next eruption.

Located in the Tharsis Montes region, Olympus Mons is one of over a dozen volcanoes on Mars, yet it remains the largest and is a hundred times taller than any volcano you can find on Earth. Olympus Mon is roughly the size of the entire state of Arizona, stretching over 374 miles across and towers at 16 miles above the surrounding terrain.

In comparison, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is only 6 miles above the sea floor. In fact, the whole chain of volcanos around Hawaii could easily fit in Olympus Mon. It is three times taller than Earth’s highest peak: Mount Everest. This is because Olympus Mon is what we refer to as a shield volcano, instead of suddenly eruption volcano in a violent spew it creates lava slowly that flows down its side. The consequence is that this volcano continues to grow and grow.

Due to the amount of weight, it is actually slowly falling into itself as underground caverns of the mountain are emptied of lava. And thought Olympus Mon has formed after billions of years, it is still considered to be a relatively young volcano. As a result, it is definitely still an active volcano that could explode at any time.

A team of scientists from NASA who regularly study Mars believe the reason why volcanos on Mars are so much bigger than on Earth is due to the red planet’s low gravity and also Mars appears to have much higher eruption rates – which has allowed lava to pile up quickly.

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