Upon glancing at this image. what do you think it is? If you guessed it is an image of the desert or a sandstorm, you would be wrong. This isn't even a representation of anything worldly, but other-worldly -- This is an incredible artist rendering of Olympus Mons on Mars, which is the largest volcano and the second highest mountain, located in our solar system.
Olympus Mons lies in the West Hemisphere of the Red planet, in the Tharsis Montes region -- a system of more than 12 volcanoes. All of which, are considerably larger than the ones found here on Earth, with Mons being almost one hundred times the size of any of ours. In particular, it is almost 374 miles (62 kn) in diameter, or roughly the same size of the state of Arizona in the United states. with a height of about 16 miles (25 km) -- effectively making its summit almost three times higher than Mount Everest is from seal level, which is the highest peak on our planet. The largest volcano here is Mauna Loa in Hawaii which is about 6.3 miles (10 km) high and 75 miles (120 km) across, Mons is more than one hundred times larger than it. In short, it's a monster. So much in fact, that the entire chain of the Hawaii island are capable of fitting inside Olympus Mons based on volume, with room to stretch.
Here are some real images of the area:
I chose this particular image because it expresses the size of the volcano is a way none other that I have seen does. Most are space-based images that show the volcano in detail, but never quite like this, as any observer lying at the base of Olympus Mons would be incapable of seeing the volcano in its entirety. Instead, the slope would extend well beyond the horizon of Mars.
You can see more images of the artist & a larger version of this one, here:
For Further Reading:
"Beyond Earthly Skies: Olympus Mons"
"Perspective view of the eastern scarp of Olympus Mons, looking south-west"
Image Credit: Joan J. Silvestre Bataller/International Space Art Network
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