Olympus Mons

Olympus Mons

. A mosaic of the towering Martian volcano Olympus Mons, using data obtained from the Viking 1 orbiter in the late 1970s. It is the largest known volcano in the solar system, rising 27 thousand meters and spreading over 600 thousand meters at its base. The lava flows on the gentle slopes of this volcano are relatively young, averaging only about 30 million years old. The summit caldera, or central depression, is a composite of as many as seven roughly circular depressions that probably formed by recurrent collapse when magma was withdrawn from within the volcano. The caldera is almost 3 thousand meters deep and up to 70 thousand meters across. The volcano is surrounded by a well defined scarp, or cliff, that is up to 6 thousand meters high. Much of the plains surrounding the volcano are covered by rigid and grooved aureole, the Latin term for "circle of light". Mons is the Latin term for "mountain". Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, is the home of the gods in Greek mythology. (Courtesy of JPL, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University