All of us have heard about Mount Everest which is the tallest mountain on planet Earth when height is measured from sea level. Have you thought about the tallest mountains in our solar system which consists of 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets and many comets, asteroids, meteoroids, and moons? Most of the tallest mountains in the solar system are located on red planet Mars. Read on to know the 10 tallest mountains in the Solar System.
1. Rheasilvia Mons, 4 Vesta – 22 km (14 mi)
The mountain is located in asteroid 4 Vesta. With a height of 22 km from its base, Rheasilvia Mons gets the first spot in tallest mountains in the solar system. It was discovered in 2006 and was named in 2011 after Rhea Silvia, a mythological character who was the mother of the founders of Rome. Rheasilvia is the most prominent surface feature on the asteroid 4 Vesta which is the second largest body in the asteroid belt after the dwarf planet Ceres. Rheasilvia Mons is the tallest non-planetary mountain in the solar system.
2. Olympus Mons, Mars -21.8 km (13.6 mi)
Olympus Mons is located on planet Mars and it is a second highest mountain in the solar system and the tallest mountain in 8 planets of the solar system. It stands about approx 2.4 times tall of Mount Everest’s height (8848 m) above sea level. It is also the youngest of the large volcanoes on Mars. Mons is also reported to be the largest volcano in the solar system. Olympus Mons was discovered in 1971 and it was the tallest mountain in the solar system for 40 years until Rheasilvia Mons was discovered.
3. Equatorial Ridge, Saturn’s Moon Iapetus– 20 km (12.4 mi)
Equatorial Ridge is located at Iapetus, third largest moon of Saturn. Iapetus is named after the Titan Iapetus, suggested by John Herschel. 20 kilometer high ridge is running along most of the equator of Iapetus. The ridge was discovered by the Cassini probe in 2004. Mountain Peaks in the equatorial ridge rise around 20 km above the surrounding plains, making them some of the tallest mountains in our Solar System. There are several theories on the ridge’s formation, however, none has been confirmed.
4. Boösaule Montes, Jupiter’s moon IO – 17.5 km (10.8 mi)
Boösaule Montes is located in Io, the fourth largest and innermost moon of Jupiter. Most of the tallest mountains in the solar system are volcanoes, but this one is not. In fact, Boösaule Montes is the tallest non-volcanic mountain in the solar system. This mountain is named after a cave where Epaphus ( son of Zeus) was born as per Greek Mythology. South Boösaule has a relative height of 18.2 km. The height from the mountain base is 17.5 km.
5. Ascraeus Mons, Mars – 14.9 km (9.3 mi)
Ascraeus Mons is the second largest mountain on planet Mars (after Olympus Mons) reaching about 15 km from its base. It was discovered by the Mariner 9 spacecraft in 1971. Ascraeus Mons is a very large shield volcano located in the Tharsis region of the planet Mars. Ascraeus is the northern one and tallest of three shield volcanoes which are collectively known as the Tharsis Montes. The volcano was initially known as North Spot because it was the located northernmost of four spots visible on the planet surface due to a global dust storm that surrounded the planet at that time. As the dust cleared, the spots were revealed to be extremely tall volcanoes and Ascraeus Mons got its name.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
6. Pavonis Mons, Mars – 14 km (8.6 mi)
Pavonis Mons is a large volcano located in the Tharsis region of the planet Mars where three large volcanoes are present. It is the middle member of a group of three volcanic mountains collectively known as the Tharsis Montes. Pavonis Mons is located next to another tallest mountain Ascraeus Mons. The volcano was discovered by the Mariner 9 spacecraft in 1971 and was originally called Middle Spot because it was the middle of the spots visible on the surface. It was officially named Pavonis Mons in 1973. The name “Pavonis Mons” translates to The peacock’s mountain.
7. Elysium Mons, Mars – 12.6 km (7.8 mi)
Elysium Mons is a large volcano located in the volcanic province of Elysium in the eastern hemisphere of planet Mars. It stands about 13.9 km above the surrounding lava plains. Elysium Mons was discovered from images returned by the Mariner 9 orbiter in 1972. At the bottom of Elysium Mons are two other volcanoes: Hecates Tholus to the northeast, and Albor Tholus to the southeast. The InSight mission is expected to land on Elysium Planitia in September 2018. Elysium Planitia, a flat plain just north of the Mars equator makes for the perfect location to study the deep interior of planet Mars.
8. Arsia Mons, Mars – 11.7 km (7.3 mi)
Arsia Mons is a large volcano located in the Tharsis region of the planet Mars where three large volcanoes are present. Arsia Mons is the southern one of three volcanoes which are collectively known as Tharsis Montes. The other tall mountains, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons are located to the north of Arsia Mons. Olympus Mons, The tallest volcano in the solar system, is located to the northwest of the mountain. Arsia Mons is one of the biggest volcanoes by volume. Arsia Mons has about 30 times the volume of Mauna Loa which is located in Hawaii.
9. Mauna Kea, Earth – 10.2 km (6.3 miles)
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea stands 4,207 meters above sea level and its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Measured from sea level, this mountain is 4.2 km tall but if we measure from the oceanic base of the mountain, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on planet Earth. Most of the mountain is underwater and thus when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10 km tall and is the tallest mountain on planet Earth.
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