There’s no denying it—volcanoes are pretty awesome. As you gaze upon these looming mountains spewing forth fire so hot it causes the ground itself to melt into a gooey pool, you get a sense of just how destructive and chaotic Mother Nature can be. But what’s even cooler than the inspiration for Mount Doom? Space volcanoes. And they’re way more explosive, awe-inspiring, and destructive than anything you’ll find on Earth.
Despite Olympus Mons’s massive height, though, it would be remarkably easy to climb, as the average slope is only a 5° incline. But how did it get so big? Like volcanoes on Earth, Olympus Mons was formed due to cooling lava emerging from hot spots underground. However, unlike Earth, Mars doesn’t have a lot of tectonic motion, so these hot spots never shifted to a different location.
The lava just kept building up in the same place until it became the beast of a mountain that is Olympus Mons. In fact, the volcano is so heavy that it actually sinks into the Martian surface, creating a moat around its base.