Behold, picture a colossal volcanic landmass akin to the expanse of France, soaring more than 20,000 meters (65,000 feet) into the celestial heavens. Such a remarkable terrain may have once graced the surface of the enigmatic planet Mars.
In the hallowed pages of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, a study, masterfully led by a researcher from CNRS, reveals a revelation of utmost significance.
The monumental Olympus Mons volcano on Mars displays striking morphological resemblances to numerous active volcanic islands on our very own Earth.
The learned scientists theorize that these resemblances stem from a convergence between liquid water and molten lava gushing forth from the Martian volcano.
Astonishingly, similar characteristics grace the northern flank of the Alba Mons volcano, which resides more than 1,500 km (900 miles) distant from Olympus Mons.
This remarkable observation bolsters the notion that a vast ocean of liquid water once held dominion over the northern lowlands of the Red Planet. By meticulously dating these volcanic rocks, we may glean a wealth of knowledge about Mars’ climatic evolution.
Now, permit me to acquaint you with the awe-inspiring marvel that is Olympus Mons – a grand shield volcano majestically situated on the very surface of Mars. Its remarkable eminence sets it apart as the tallest volcano and the most expansive shield volcano in the entire solar system.
With a majestic stature of approximately 13.6 miles (22 kilometers), Olympus Mons proudly towers three times higher than our terrestrial Mount Everest, Earth’s mightiest peak. A testament to its grandiosity, the volcano boasts a diameter of around 370 miles (600 kilometers), akin to the vast expanse of Arizona in the United States.
The title “shield volcano” aptly befits this majestic formation, describing a type of volcano characterized by broad, shallow slopes that emerge from the eruption of low-viscosity lava, flowing effortlessly across great distances before cooling and solidifying.
Olympus Mons derives its name from the shape it takes, evoking the likeness of a resolute warrior’s formidable shield.
Gaze upon the caldera, the summit crater of Olympus Mons, an awe-inspiring sight stretching some 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide, showcasing an intricate tapestry of six overlapping pits or craters formed through different volcanic episodes.
These episodes mark moments when subterranean magma chambers emptied their fiery contents, causing the ground above to collapse in splendid grandeur.
Nestled in the esteemed Tharsis Montes region of Mars, Olympus Mons shares company with several other mighty volcanoes.
Its age, as ascertained by learned minds, hovers around 200 million years, while various missions to Mars provide evidence that lava streamed from its majestic heights in the not-so-distant past – a geological eye-blink of approximately 2 million years ago.