Hecates Tholus is a volcano in the Elysium Volcanic Region.
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. 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.
It is thought that the caldera may have had glaciers in the past. Some valleys on Hecates show a parallel drainage pattern. 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." On Earth 8 million year old ice is still present in the Antarctic dry valleys under a layer of dirt.
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- Hauber, E., et al. 2005. Discovery of flank caldera and very young glacial activity at Hecates Tholus, Mars. Nature: 434, 356-361.
- 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.