Sunday, June 27, 2021

The reliefs of impressive size on the Red Planet

You have all heard of Olympus Mons on Mars, which with an elevation of over 25 km is the highest mountain in the entire Solar System.

The reliefs of impressive size on the Red Planet are not limited to this: in fact in its vicinity there are other three shield volcanoes, in this image photographed by the Viking 1 probe.

From bottom to top we have: Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and finally Ascraeus Mons.

Their base diameter varies between 375 km of Pavonis Mons and 475 km of Arsia Mons.

The highest of the three is Ascraeus Mons, whose top rises for 15 km, while the lowest is Pavonis Mons, 9 km high.

For comparison, Mauna Kea (the largest volcano on Earth) rises 9 km above the ocean floor and its base diameter is only 120 km.

Mountains aren't the only impressive geological structures on the Red Planet. In fact, let's go back to looking at the image of the post, this time focusing on the fracture system in the lower right. This structure, known as Noctis Labyrinthus, is part of the Vallis Marineris, the largest canyon system in the entire Solar System. In fact, the Vallis Marineris have a length of over 4000 km, a width of 700 km and a maximum depth of 11 km! Compared to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Vallis Marineris are ten times longer, seven times wider and seven times deeper.

Credit: NASA.


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