Hecates Tholus

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Mars topography (MOLA dataset) HiRes (1).jpg
Hecates Tholus with clouds

Hecates Tholus is a volcano in the Elysium Volcanic Region.

Tographic map of area around Hecates Tholus

Hecates is in the Cebrenia quadrangle. The volcano is at location 32.12°N 150.24°E (209.76 W) and has a diameter of 182 km.[1] It is the northernmost of the Elysium volcanoes; the others are Elysium Mons and Albor Tholus.

Origin of name

In planetary nomenclature, a "tholus" is a "small domical mountain or hill". Hecates is named after Hecate, the goddess of the ghost-world, nightly events, and sorcery.[2]


It is thought that the caldera may have had glaciers in the past.[3] Some valleys on Hecates show a parallel drainage pattern.[4] Using the High Resolution Stereo Camera onboard ESA's Mars Express that is orbiting Mars, a team of researchers discovered evidence of a large explosive eruption and recent glaciers on the volcano. Although some of the ice has sublimated into the atmosphere, the authors believe there still exists ice under a cover of debris. They state the ice could be "accessible for automated or human exploration."[5] On Earth 8 million year old ice is still present in the Antarctic dry valleys under a layer of dirt.[6]

Lava channels on Hecates Tholus


  1. https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov
  2. Blunck, J. 1982. Mars and its Satellites. Exposition Press. Smithtown, N.Y.
  3. http://www.msnbc.msn/id/7209308
  4. Hugh H. Kieffer 1992. Mars. University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-1257-7.
  5. Hauber, E., et al. 2005. Discovery of flank caldera and very young glacial activity at Hecates Tholus, Mars. Nature: 434, 356-361.
  6. Marchant, D., et al. 2002. Formation of patterned ground and sublimation till over Miocene glacial ice in Beacon Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctia. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 114, 718-730.