Olympus Mons (Volcano Week 6)

Friday, 26th August 2011 by

It’s volcano week, so it would seem like a lost opportunity to not write about the tallest volcano in our entire solar system, Olympus Mons – no-one said that the volcanoes had to be on Earth after all.

Normally, trying to tour the surface of another planet using Google’s services might cause an issue for us, but in this case we can easily go sightseeing thanks to Google Mars, a browser-based project launched in 2006 that found its way into Google Earth in 20091.

Olympus Mons is estimated to be between 21,000 and 29,000 metres tall (69,000-95,000 ft). That’s around three times the height of Mount Everest, which also makes it the tallest mountain in the solar system, as well as volcano.

The base is 624 km (374 mi) in diameter, which is about the same size as Arizona.

Image courtesy of NASA

At the summit are six or possibly seven overlapping calderas, 60 × 80 km (37 × 50 miles) across, and probably around 3km (2 miles) deep.

We also know there are two impact craters from meteor strikes on the summit. They are the 15.6 km diameter (10 mile) Karzok crater and the 10.4 km diameter (6 mile) Pangboche crater.

Unless Google somehow extend their coverage to other solar systems, this is very likely to be the largest volcano that is ever posted to Google Sightseeing!

Read more about Olympus Mons at Wikipedia.

  1. Which includes higher resolution images than those in the browser version, 3D renderings of the Martian terrain, and Street View style 360° panoramas of the surface!