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The "Alps" on Mars

The Nereidum Montes are part of the northern rim of the Argyre Planitia basin. With a diameter of 1800 kilometers and a depth of up to five kilometers, Argyre is the second largest impact basin on Mars (the largest is Hellas Planitia). Similar to the Alps on Earth, the mountain range of the Nereidum Montes extends in an elongated arc over 1100 kilometers parallel to the basin rim. Individual mountain massifs are, as in Europe's high mountains, up to four thousand meters high.

However, the process of formation of the terrestrial Alps has taken a completely different course than that of the ring mountains of the Nereidum Montes on Mars. The latter are originally the result of an extremely large asteroid impact. The impact was so enormous that it not only created a bowl-shaped basin several kilometers deep, but also several concentric mountain rings at the edges, which are terraced by tectonic landslides of entire blocks of land. The European Alps, on the other hand, were pushed up to a folded mountain range of almost 5000 meters height by the collision of the African continental plate with the Eurasian plate. Incidentally, it is still growing today by about one centimeter per year, but at the same time it is being eroded again.