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Volcanism on Mars: Wikis

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Three Tharsis Mons in Tharsis region by Viking

Volcanism on Mars produced lava flows and large shield volcanoes with shallow-sloping sides. Mars has the largest shield volcanoes in the solar system. It also has a wide range of other volcanic features. These include large volcanic cones, unusual patera structures, volcanic plains, and a number of other smaller features. There are less than 20 named volcanoes on Mars, and only 5 of these are giant shields. [1] Volcanism occurred in two main regions, Tharsis and Elysium Planitia. Tharsis contains three large shield volcanoes, Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arsia Mons but also the biggest mountain in solar system Olympus Mons or untypical old volcano Alba Patera. Elysium Planitia also has three huge shield volcanoes, Hecates Tholus, Elysium Mons and Albor Tholus. The largest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons, lies on the northwestern flank of the enormous Tharsis volcanic plateau.

There is no evidence of current active volcanism or hotspots on Mars. The mare-like plains on Mars are roughly 3 to 3.5 billion years old.[1] The giant shield volcanoes are younger, formed between 1 and 2 billion years ago. The youngest lava flows on Olympus Mons are only 20 to 200 million years old.[2] These flows are very small, however, and they probably represent the last gasp of martian volcanism. Thus, the odds of finding an active volcano on Mars today are very small.[1]

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