Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain and largest volcano on any planet in the solar system.
Its height from base to peak is 21.9 km (13.6 mi or 72,000 ft) or 26 km (16.2 miles) above the northern plains. This makes it at least two and a half times taller than Mount Everest’s height above sea level.
Olympus Mons is the youngest of the large volcanoes on Mars. It and was likely formed during the Hesperian Period which lasted between 3,700 million years ago and 2,000 million years ago and has been known to astronomers since the late 19th century.
It’s a shield volcano (similar to the volcanoes than make up the Hawaiian Islands). Olympus Mons covers an area 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi), roughly the same size as Italy.
Finally, it has very gently sloping profile with an average slope of only 5°.
Because of the size of Olympus Mons and its shallow slopes, an observer standing on the Martian surface would be unable to view the entire profile of the volcano, even from a great distance.
Similarly, an observer near the summit would be unaware of standing on a very high mountain, as the slope of the volcano would extend far beyond the horizon, a mere 3 km away.
To learn more about Mars have a look at the following books:
- Mars, The Red Planet, 2-sided, tubed (National Geographic Reference Map)
- Atlas of Mars Series
- Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Enjoy this post? Please help us by sharing it: