Tharsis is a vast volcanic plateau centered near the equator in the western hemisphere of Mars.[note 1] The region is home to the largest volcanoes in the Solar System, including the three enormous shield volcanoes Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Ascraeus Mons, which are collectively known as the Tharsis Montes. The tallest volcano on the planet, Olympus Mons, is often associated with the Tharsis region but is actually located off the western edge of the plateau. The name Tharsis is the Greco-Latin transliteration of the biblical Tarshish, the land at the western extremity of the known world.
Tharsis can have many meanings depending on historical and scientific context. The name is commonly used in a broad sense to represent a continent-sized region of anomalously elevated terrain centered just south of the equator around longitude 265°E. Called the Tharsis bulge or Tharsis rise, this broad, elevated region dominates the western hemisphere of Mars and is the largest topographic feature on the planet, after the global dichotomy.
Tharsis has no formally defined boundaries, so p...