The largest volcano in the solar system

Olympus Mons picture taken by NASA Viking Orbiter
  • Olympus Mons is the most important volcano on Mars and the most important within the Photo voltaic System
  • Olympus Mons is 72,000 ft (22,000 meters) excessive, or two and a half occasions the scale of Mount Everest
  • Volcanoes on Mars develop very massive as a consequence of lack of plate tectonics and low floor gravity
  • Geological proof suggests Olympus Mons should still be energetic

Volcanic eruptions are widespread on Earth, nonetheless the presence of volcanoes will not be distinctive to Earth. All rocky inside planets, in addition to many moons, include proof of previous or current volcanic exercise. The most important volcano on Earth (and the most important mountain when measured from base to summit) is Mauna Kea with a top of 33,500 ft (10,210 meters). This may occasionally sound excessive, however even the very best mountains on Earth are very small when in comparison with a specific volcano on Mars. Mars is dwelling to the tallest volcano within the photo voltaic system, a large known as Olympus Mons. Its top is 72,000 ft (22,000 meters), which is one and a half occasions the scale of Mount Everest. Olympus Mons is 674 miles (324 kilometers) in diameter, making it roughly the identical diameter as Arizona. By space, Olympus Mons has an space of ​​120,000 sq. miles (300,000 sq. kilometers), roughly the identical measurement as Italy. Curiously, regardless of its measurement, Olympus Mons is a comparatively flat volcano. The typical slope of Olympus Mons is simply 5 levels. In actual fact, in the event you have been to face on high of Olympus Mons, its lack of steep slope and scale would make it inconceivable to see any slope. As an alternative, it seems to be such as you’re standing on a flat floor slightly than the tallest mountain within the photo voltaic system. All these elements make Olympus Mons the most important identified volcano within the photo voltaic system.

How did Olympus Mons turn out to be so huge?

Olympus Mons crater image taken by NASA Viking Orbiter
Olympus Mons crater picture taken by NASA Viking Orbiter

The volcanoes on Mars are usually bigger than these discovered elsewhere within the photo voltaic system. There are two main elements that contribute to this: the low floor gravity of Mars and the shortage of plate tectonics. Volcanoes on Mars type in a lot the identical approach that they type on Earth. Molten rock from the mantle is pushed upward to type a mountain, with an intensive system of tubes connecting the mountain to magma within the planet’s inside. Nonetheless, there’s one main distinction between Earth and Mars. Earth’s crust splits into separate plates, which in flip drift throughout the floor as partially molten rock flows underneath the crust. This course of known as plate tectonics. Below the crust, throughout the mantle, there are stationary hotspots that result in the formation of volcanoes. These hotspots actively spew magma from the mantle to the floor, forming a volcano within the course of. As a result of the crust is consistently in movement, a single sizzling spot usually kinds a number of volcanoes when the crust strikes away. You’ll be able to consider it as a form of conveyor belt, the place magma rises to the floor and kinds a volcano, after which the crust strikes away from that volcano and permits one other volcano to type. That is what occurs on Earth, however Mars is a distinct story. The crust of Mars will not be divided into separate plates, and subsequently Mars doesn’t undergo from any plate tectonics. Subsequently, each the recent spot and the crust above it are invariant. A single sizzling spot on Mars would proceed so as to add materials to the identical level on the crust, ensuing within the formation of 1 large volcano. Moreover, Mars’ low floor gravity permits volcanoes to develop to a a lot bigger measurement inside a shorter time frame than these on Earth. Olympus Mons is a sort of volcano known as a protect volcano. As an alternative of forming from large eruptions, protect volcanoes type when lava flows from the highest of a volcano to its base, ultimately solidifying and inflicting the volcano to develop in measurement.

Is Olympus Mons energetic?

If Olympus Mons ever erupted, it might be in contrast to something we have seen on Earth. Up to now, scientists have no idea whether or not Olympus Mons is energetic or not. Knowledge from close by lava flows point out that Olympus Mons skilled small eruptions two million years in the past, which is exceptionally brief in geological phrases. This means that Olympus Mons should still be partially energetic, nonetheless it isn’t identified whether or not it’s going to expertise a large-scale eruption sooner or later.