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Ceraunius Tholus is a volcano on Mars located in the Tharsis quadrangle at 24.2 degrees north latitude and 97.4 degrees west longitude and it is a part of Uranius group of volcanoes. It is 130 km across, 5.5 km high and is named after a classical albedo feature name.

Lower volcano is Ceraunius Tholus and upper volcano is Uranius Tholus as seen by Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera.

It is generally believed to be a basaltic shield with the lower part buried beneath plain forming lavas. Earlier interpretations suggested that it is a stratovolcano[1]. The slopes on Ceraunius Tholus are quite steep with an average slope of 8° with many radial erosion channels and pitted valleys extending from just below the rim of the caldera toward the base of the volcano. Interesting features on Ceraunius Tholus are three large canyons at the northwest flank of Ceraunius Tholus which are up to 2.5 km wide and 300 m deep. The biggest of these three also appears to be the youngest and protrude from the lowest point of the volcanic caldera and ends at the interesting Rahe crater (an oblique impact crater with measures of 35 × 18 km), just north from the volcano where it formed a depositional fan. Its origin is still debatable and there are four main models proposed: fluvial action, volcanic flows, valley being a lava channel or some combination of previously mentioned models.[2]
The caldera of Ceranius Tholus is also dotted with many collapse pits which are distinct from impact craters as the have no rim and vary in concentration across caldera. Ceraunius Tholus is probably late Hesperian in age.


Some scientists believe that glaciers exist on many of the volcanoes in Tharsis including Olympus Mons, Ascraeus Mons, and Pavonis Mons. [3] Ceraunius Tholus may have even had its glaciers melt to form some temporary lakes in the past. The shape of the Ceraunius Tholus caldera suggests that in the past meltwater would also accumulate in a caldera lake. [4][5]


Tharsis is a land of great volcanoes. Olympus Mons is the tallest known volcano. Ascraeus Mons and Pavonis Mons are at least 200 miles across and are over six miles above the plateau that they sit on. Then, the plateau is three to four miles above the zero altitude of Mars.[6]

Map of Tharsis quadrangle with major features indicated. Tharsis contains many volcanoes, including Olympus Mons, the tallest known volcano in the solar system.


  1. ^ CHARACTERISTICS OF VALLEYS ON CERAUNIUS THOLUS AND THEIR FORMATION: PART I. Caleb I. Fassett and James W. Head, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. Microsymposium 38, MS016, 2003
  2. ^ Valley formation on martian volcanoes in the Hesperian: Evidence for melting of summit snowpack, caldera lake formation, drainage and erosion on Ceraunius Tholus; Caleb I. Fassett, James W. Head III, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA, 2007
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ http://www.mars.asu/christensen/advancedmarsclass/shean_glaciers_2005.pdf
  6. ^ Norton, O. 2002. Mapping Mars. Picador, New York.


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