Olympus Mons (location)

The king of all mountains is aptly named. The tallest mountain in the system. The central caldera complex stands 27 kilometers (88,580 ft) high above the mean surface level of Mars. It is 550 km (342 miles) in width, in many places flanked by steep cliffs, and has a caldera complex that is made up of six overlapping pit craters. The complex is 85 km long, 60 km wide, and 3 km deep at it's deepest. The mountain, as well as a few other of the volcanoes in the Tharsis region, has sufficient height to reach above dust storms and it was visible from Earth already to 19th century observers.

View from the Top

If you had to climb up yourself it would be most difficult at first, for around the outer edge there is a very tall(up to 6 km) escarpment. Strangely, the size of Olympus Mons and its shallow slope (2.5 degrees central dome surrounded by 5 degree outer region) mean that a person standing on the surface of Mars would be unable to view the upper profile of the volcano even from a distance, as the curvature of the planet and the volcano itself would obscure it. However, one could view parts of Olympus: standing on the highest point of its summit, the slope of the volcano would extend beyond the horizon, a mere 3 kilometers away; from the three kilometer elevated caldera rim one could see 80 kilometers to the caldera's other side; from the southeast scarp highpoint (about 5 km elevation one could look about 180 km southeast; from the northwest scarp highpoint (about 8 km elevation) one could look upslope possibly 240 km and look northeast possibly 230 km.

The atmospheric pressure at the top is only between 5 and 8% of the average Martian surface pressure. Airborne Martian dust and high altitude OO2-ice cloud cover occurs at the peak of Olympus Mons, though water-ice clouds cannot at current atmospheric pressures.


Olympus Mons is located in the Tharsis bulge, the huge swelling in the Martian surface that has numerous other volcanoes, including a chain of lesser shield volcanoes including Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons.

The volcano is surrounded by a region known as the Olympus Mons aureole (Latin, "circle of light") with gigantic ridges and blocks extending 1000 km (600 miles) from the summit that show evidence of development and resurfacing connected with glacial activity. Both the escarpment and the aureole are poorly understood. In one theory, this basal cliff was formed by landslides, and the aureole consists of material they deposited.

Two of the craters on Olympus Mons have been assigned names by the IAU. These are the 15.6 km diameter Karzok crater (18°25′N 131°55′W / 18.417, -131.917) and the 10.4 km diameter Pangboche crater (17°10′N 133°35′W / 17.167, -133.583)

Olympus Mons is a shield volcano, the result of highly fluid lava flowing out of volcanic vents over a long period of time, and is much wider than it is tall; the average slope of Olympus Mons' flanks is very gradual. In 2004 the Mars Express orbiter imaged old lava flows on the flanks of Olympus Mons. Based on crater size and frequency counts, the surface of this western scarp has been dated from 115 million years old down to a region that is only 2 million years old.[10] This is very recent in geological terms, suggesting that the mountain may yet have some ongoing volcanic activity.

The caldera at the peak of the volcano was formed after volcanism ceased and the roof of the emptied magma chamber collapsed. During the collapse the surface became extended and formed fractures. Later additional caldera collapses were formed due to subsequent lava production. These overlapped the original circular caldera, giving the edge a less symmetrical appearance.

See Also
Google Mars https://www.google.com/mars/#lat=17.366688&lon=-132.656474&zoom=5&map=vi...

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