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The Tharsis region on Mars is an enormous volcanic plateau located on Mars' equator, at the western end of Valles Marinerismarker. Its name comes from the Bible, where it was the name for the land at western extremity of the known world. (See also Tarshish.)

It contains the Tharsis Bulge, on which some of the solar system's largest volcanoes are located. Olympus Monsmarker formed by a mantle plume over a period of about one hundred million years during the Noachian epoch (between 3.8 and 3.5 billion years ago) .

The vast size of the Tharsis Bulge had a great impact on the geology of Mars. Tharsis is surrounded by a ring-shaped topographical depression called the Tharsis trough, and on the opposite side of the planet is a smaller bulge called Arabia Terramarker which may have formed as a result of the weight of Tharsis. These features were a major influence on the formation of Mars' drainage valleys, most of which formed in the late Noachian. The large quantities of carbon dioxide and water vapor that could have been outgassed by Tharsis magma may have also played a significant role in Mars' wet period; Roger J. Phillips calculated in 2001 that it could have formed a 1.5-bar carbon dioxide atmosphere and a global layer of water that averaged 120 meters thick.

Alba Pateramarker is a unique volcanic feature to the north of the Tharsis region.

Tharsis in popular culture

  • Tharsis appears in the Japanese manga and anime Voices of a Distant Star, where the first encounter between mankind and an alien race referred to as Tarsians took place.

  • In the anime Cowboy Bebop, Vicious is stationed with the Red Dragon Syndicate in the region.

  • In Sealab 2021 episode "Der Dieb", Captain Murphy makes references to the Tharsian region on Mars: "Then as of this moment, I am hereby married to Adrienne Barbeau, queen of Mars from Olympus Mons to Tharsis"

See also


  1. Welcome to the Planets Version 1.5

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