Today's Image of Mars shows how the Tharsis Trio (Arsia, Pavonis, and Ascraeus Mons) pale in comparison to Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system. Of the Tharsis trio, Arsia Mons is the oldest and Ascraeus Mons is the youngest.
The Tharsis Quadrangle is full of volcanoes and is thought to have been volcanically active as recently as 100-250 million years ago, which is relatively recent in geological terms. It is thought that at one time the abundance of volcanoes in this region had an enormous impact on the climate of Mars.
Scientists have determined that the amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor released into the air by all the discovered Tharsis volcanoes would have been enough to create an atmosphere thicker than that currently on Earth. If this is the case the environment on Mars could have been completely different than what we see in images today.
Click on this image to see all images of Tharsis volcanoes showcased by Mars Travel. [See the Mars Express article with this image]
|Credit: ESA/Mars Express