Supervolcanoes on Mars – Scientists believe this caldera, Eden Patera, on Mars is an ancient supervolcano. In this image of the caldera, digital-elevation data is overlaid on daytime thermal infrared images. (Red means higher elevations, while purple/gray means lower.) The crater in the middle is about 70 kilometers wide and 1,800 meters deep.
Supervolcanoes on Mars – This is a 3-D image of Eden Patera, which was made using data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera aboard the Mars Express Orbiter.
Supervolcanoes on Mars – This image highlights the layered materials and collapse features on Eden Patera's floor. Scientists say the layers represent areas where lava, from an ancient lava lake, clung to ridges and hills in the floor of the crater. The lava then froze against the bedrock and eventually detached while the lava lake drained from beneath.
Supervolcanoes on Mars – Oxus Patera is another potential ancient supervolcano on Mars. The irregular basins in the crater indicate multiple stages of collapse. The crater is 30 kilometers in diameter. Mountains within the crater are made of fine-grained materials and could represent volcanic ash deposits.
Supervolcanoes – Earth's climate and geology has been shaped by supervolcanoes, too. Yellowstone is a great example. The giant eruption that formed the caldera there happened 640,000 years ago. About 70,000 years ago, there was a much smaller lava flow eruption -- that was the most recent volcanic activity there.
Supervolcanoes on Mars – Mount St. Helens in Washington, seen here in 2004, erupted in 1980, spewing out more than 1 cubic kilometer of lava. Scientists believe that Martian supervolcanoes could spout 1,000 cubic kilometers of volcanic material.
Supervolcanoes – Olympus Mons is a shield volcano on Mars about the size of the state of Arizona, and the largest volcano in the solar system. At its summit is a caldera 50 miles wide. Its volume is about 100 times larger than Hawaii's Mauna Loa. Although Eden Patera and other ancient supervolcanoes on Mars were smaller, they produced much bigger explosions, according to scientists.