Mars has very similar reliefs to the Earth’s, but in much different dimensions. Mars has the biggest mountains, volcanos and canyons of the solar system. So, Mars’ relief is much more rough than any other body in the solar system.
The Mount Olympus
One of the biggest relief in Mars and one of these volcanos is the “Mount Olympus”. The Mount Olympus is the biggest volcano in the solar system. It is also Mars’ youngest volcano, which was formed approximately 1 800 millions years ago.
Its peak is elevated to 23 km, which is more than two times the height of the Everest, which doesn’t arrive to 9 kilometres. The Mount Olympus is surrounded by a big extension plain. We observe that this volcano is situated in a 2 km depression. The base of this volcano has a diameter of 618 km, and it has a surface of 283 000 square kilometres, which is comparable to the Equator’s.
Apart, between the characteristics of inside the volcano, we see that its caldera has a dimensions of 85 km long, 60 km of amplitude and almost 3 km depth.
The Mount Olympus is so big that, if we were positioned on Mars’ surface, we wouldn’t see the volcano’s form at complete. Even if we moved away, we would only see a wall that would look like an enormous cliff.
Just as we can’t see all its form from a side, we can’t neither appreciate it from the peak. If we were situated in the most tall point of the Mount Olympus, we would only see a part of the slope. We wouldn’t arrive to see the end, because it would melt with the horizon. Then, the only way to see the Mount Olympus at complete, it would be with a spacecraft in the space.
The Mount Aeolis
The Mount Aeolis is a mountain of 5 500 m height which is elevated in the middle of one of the craters in Mars. It was in this crater of 154 km of diameter, situated in the South of the Martian equator, the crater called Gale, where landed the robot Curiosity in 2012.
The analyses that this robot realized revealed that the base of Mount Aeolis was the result of different successive sediments, as in the past the Mount Aeolis had possessed a lake.
In another epoch, the crater could have been completely full of sediments, but, some time after, due to the erosion by the wind, only a central peak remained: the Mount Aeolis.
Valles Marineris, the Grand Canyon of Mars
The biggest canyon in the solar system is situated on Mars, and it shows us another time how big can be Mars’ relief. Valles Marineris has a monumental dimensions. It has 3 500 km long, 300 m width and 7 000 m depth. In comparison, the Grand Canyon of the Earth, situated in Arizona, has 800 km long, 30 km width and 1 800 m depth. The Grand Canyon seems very small in front the dimensions of Valles Marineris.
The origin of Valles Marineris is still unknown, although, the most accepted hypothesis proposes that its formation started as a crack that afterwards was enarged due to the erosion.
The Night Labyrinth
Noctis Labyrinthus, the Night labyrinth, is an amazing labyrinth of deep steep valleys that cross the ones with the others. The Noctis Labyrinthus is a part of Valles Marineris. Its structure is so complex, that, until some time ago, we believed that it had been constructed by intelligent live.
For now, we have been incapable of exploring the depths of Valles Marineris due to the irregularity and steepness of the land, wich converts the Night labyrinth in a place of impossible in situ exploration. However, it is true that we have explored it as better as possible thanks to the spacecrafts and telescopes that orbit Mars.