Olympus Mons: The Largest Volcano in the Solar System

Apparently Mount Everest is not tall. Well, it's tall for us earthlings, but when you include our whole solar system, the Everest looks like a baby. Olympus Mons, is an enormous shield volcano on Mars, and the largest volcano in the solar system. It's height? Just 72,000 feet, approximately. Now that we have your attention, let's proceed.

That Olympus Mons was a volcano, and not a mountain was confirmed by Mariner 9, the unmanned spacecraft, in 1971. Olympus Mons covers an area of 300,000 km², almost the size of Italy, but it is actually the youngest of the large volcanoes on Mars. Formed during the Hesperian period, its existence was known since the 19th century. It must be mentioned that Mariner 9 landed on Mars during the global dust storm, and also  dust storms are ubiquitous occurrences on Mars. But the gigantic Olympus Mons managed to tower above the storm, and quite visible to earthly telescopes! But why is it this large? Well, if this question popped up somewhere inside your curious mind, it's because of the lack of tectonic plates on Mars. But it turns out that Olympus Mons is not the only structure to stand tall in our solar system, it is actually the second tallest when compared with the crater, Rheasilvia! Interestingly, this impact crater was discovered way back in 1997 by the Hubble Space Telescope, but named only in 2011 (and an amazing name), after Dawn Spacecraft landed there .
I could go on about Rheasilvia, but that is a story best kept away for some other day. Olympus Mons, higher than even the Everest, is the object of our attention today, and rightly so, as it silently stands atop the Martian soil, guardian our planetary system, while braving the dust storms.

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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