Arsia Mons

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Arsia Mons is an extinct shield volcano in the Tharsis region near the equator. It is part of the Tharsis Montes group of volcanos. Its location is 8.35 S and 120.09 W (239.91 E) in the Phoenicis Lacus quadrangle. Its name is a classical feature name and comes from a corresponding albedo feature on a map by Giovanni Schiaparelli, which he named in turn after the legendary Roman forest of Arsia Silva.[1] Researchers have found much evidence for glaciers on Arsia Mons.[2] [3]

THEMIS day image of Arsia Mons (color insert indicates location)
Two views of Arsia Mons


Seven cave entrances have been discovered on the sides of Arsia Mons. These caves could contain reserves of water ice or even life. They are possible locations for a cave settlement. With the low gravity of Mars, lava tubes may be over 800 feet in width. A lava tube on Mars could protect colonists from meteorites and radiation. Because of the lack of a magnetic field at present, Mars has a fair amount of radiation, especially from cosmic ray sources.[4] A mini-series produced by National Geographic in 2016 depicted how people could establish a base in a cave.[5] [6]

Possible cave entrances These openings have been named (A) "Dena," (B) "Chloe," (C) "Wendy," (D) "Annie," (E) "Abby" (left) and "Nikki," and (F) "Jeanne."


Repeated Clouds over Arsia Mons [7] there is some debate about the nature of the clouds whether they are dust particles or water vapor [8] If this is in fact Water Vapor, that indicates the presence of Water Ice around Arsia Mons. [9] [10]

Possible cave entrance to pit

Valentine Cave in Lava Beds National Monument, California. This shows the classic tube shape; the grooves on the wall mark former flow levels. Pits near volcanic regions of Mars may be openings to caves like this.


  2. Scanlon, K., J. Head, D. Marchant. 2015. REMNANT BURIED ICE IN THE ARSIA MONS FAN-SHAPED DEPOSIT, MARS. 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. 2266.pdf
  3. "Recent glaciation at high elevations on Arsia Mons, Mars: Implications for the formation and evolution of large tropical mountain glaciers" (PDF) (2007). Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (E3). doi:10.1029/2006JE002761. 
  7. Jet Propulshion Lab, California Institute of Technology Repeated Clouds over Arsia Mons ,
  8. THEMIS: Ice-rich clouds over Arsia Mons’ caldera, ASU, R Burnham THEMIS: Ice-rich clouds over Arsia Mons’ caldera ,, Sep 2018.
  9. 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, USRA - Universities Space Research Association VOLCANO-ICE INTERACTIONS RECORDED IN THE ARSIA MONS FAN-SHAPED GLACIAL DEPOSITS ,, 2012.
  10. LAPL HIRISE, Kelly Kolb, University of Arizona Glacier-Like Flow on Arsia Mons Flank ,, 4 April 2007.
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