Mars, Solar System

How Big Is Olympus Mons?

You might not be aware that the solar system has volcanoes too. In fact, the largest is Olympus Mons. A little basic information lets you know more about this galactic phenomenon.

What is the Size of Olympus Mons?

This volcano measures approximately 374 miles in diameter. Its size is almost the same as Arizona. The high scarp is four miles and the height is approximately 16 miles. At the summit is an approximately 50 miles wide caldera. Its size is so massive that the volcano curves with the planet’s surface.

You are probably familiar with the sheer size of Mount Everest on Earth. Olympus Mons is about three times the height of Everest.

Where is this Volcano Located?

This massive volcano can be found on Mars. Olympus Mons is close to the Martian equator in the Tharsis Montes region. Compared to Earth, the lava tends to flow for a longer period of time and this is partly responsible for its large size. The lava starts to pile up and this causes the size of the volcano to increase. On Mars, the crust also tends to move a lot differently, making it easier for the lava to accumulate.

olympus mons ssize
Two views of Olympus Mons, shown as topography draped over a Viking image mosaic. MOLA’s regional topography has shown that this volcano sits off to the west of the main Tharsis rise rather than on its western flank. The topography also clearly shows the relationship between the volcano’s scarp and massive aureole deposit that was produced by flank collapse. The vertical exaggeration is 10:1.

What Are the Characteristics of Olympus Mons?

This volcano is referred to a shield volcano. It resulted from lava flowing slowly over a period of time. This results in a number of its characteristics in addition to its massive size. On average, the slope is just about five percent and the overall appearance of the volcano is squat and low. On the outer edge of the volcano, there is a cliff and this can be as tall as six miles.

You can see that Olympus Mons is quite interesting. Knowing about its existence is further proof that Mars and Earth have some things in common.

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Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.