Tallest Mountain in the Solar System
Climbing Earth’s tallest mountains is a physical feat that requires special equipment and safety gear. But if you’re ready for an extraterrestrial challenge, you can climb the highest mountains in the Solar System instead.
The biggest mountain in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars, which rises three times higher than Mount Everest (the Earth’s highest peak). This giant Martian volcano has a base that covers the same amount of land as the state of Arizona.
Olympus Mons on Mars
Olympus Mons on Mars is one of the tallest mountains in the Solar System, at 27 kilometres high above its base. It’s about three times the height of Mount Everest and two and a half times as high as Mauna Loa on Hawaii.
Olympus Mons is situated on the north-west flank of the Tharsis volcanic region, a broad topographic rise on the martian surface. It has three physical subdivisions: a summit caldera, terraced upper flanks, and lower flanks that terminate in a scarp 2-10 km high that nearly surrounds the volcano.
Olympus Mons is the youngest of Mars’ largest shield volcanoes, and some of its lava flows suggest it’s between 115 million and 2000 million years old. It’s composed of silicates, iron oxides (which give the planet its red coloration), and some aluminum and magnesium.
Mauna Kea on Hawaii
Rising to 13,796 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the solar system. It is also home to several world-class telescopes and astronomical observatories.
The volcano has a complex geologic history. It began as a shield volcano hundreds of thousands of years ago, then transitioned to post-shield volcanism.
Today, Mauna Kea is one of five major shield volcanoes that form Hawaii’s archipelago. The volcano has erupted numerous times, including in 1843 and 1984.
Its summit is a popular destination for hiking, sightseeing and stargazing. Several trails connect the lower slopes of the mountain to the summit for a rewarding hike and spectacular view.
Mount Chimborazo on Ecuador
Located just one degree south of the equator, Mount Chimborazo on Ecuador is the world’s tallest mountain. It’s also the highest point on Earth that is not on a perfect sphere because the planet bulges slightly at the Equator.
The volcano has long captured the imagination of ambitious mountain climbers, who are drawn to its steep and challenging hiking routes that take you through snow and ice with technical climbing equipment. While not as high as Everest, Chimborazo’s summit is 6263 meters above sea level.
Climbing is possible year-round, but the best months are June and July, as well as December through early January. However, February to May is known for bad weather. Rock fall hazard is higher around that time.
Mons Huygens on the Moon
If you’re an adventurous space traveler and are looking for the tallest mountain in the solar system, look no further than the Moon. The Moon is the only natural satellite of Earth, and it was formed around 4.6 billion years ago when chunks of our planet collided with another big celestial body in the early days of our solar system.
The Moon has a range of high mountains that extend for hundreds of miles in many different directions. These include Montes Apenninus, which contains the tallest mountain on the Moon and is considered one of the most impressive lunar features.
Rheasilvia Mons on Vesta
If you’re looking for the tallest mountain in the solar system, you’ll have to go to asteroid Vesta. There, the crater called Rheasilvia is the largest peak in our solar system.
The crater is believed to have formed when Vesta collided with another asteroid. It excavated enough material to fill the Grand Canyon 1,000 times over – that’s a lot of dust!
The crater has a series of troughs in its equatorial region, which may be a sign that it was impacted by a huge meteorite. And those troughs are parallel to the crater, which means that the impact caused serious damage to the asteroid’s interior.