Spoiler: the biggest ones aren’t on Earth.
Space is full of explosions. Volcanoes abound in our solar system, and some bodies in space (besides Earth) are hotbeds of geological activity.
Jupiter’s moon, Io, is the most geologically active body in the solar system. This image, taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft in 2007, shows a 180-mile high plume rising above one of its volcanoes.
Hundreds of volcanoes erupt on the hellish landscape of this moon every day.
Future explorations could help us better understand how Jupiter’s gravity affects the heat buildup inside Io.
Not all volcanoes release hot lava. Some are cryovolcanoes that shoot out substances like water vapor and ice particles — like the ones on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
In 2015, New Horizons captured a strange formation on Pluto that researchers suspect is an inactive cryovolcano.
While Neptune is incapable of hosting volcanoes thanks to its gaseous makeup, the planet’s largest moon, Triton, is home to plains of volcanic activity.
The largest volcano in our solar system is Olympus Mons on Mars, which stands at about 16 miles tall.
Our sister planet is home to at least 1,600 major volcanoes, and some might still be active today. So far only inactive ones have been spotted, but upcoming missions will capture new views of Venus’ topography.
Earth’s moon has signs of once-active volcanoes that can be seen on its surface. This patch, informally called Ina, is the remains of volcanic activity on the Moon, and was first discovered during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.