The One Minute Geographer: This Fragile Earth (9) And the Tallest Mountain is…?

Jim Fonseca
3 min readFeb 19, 2022
On the big island of Hawaii, Mauna Kea to the north stands about 125 feet higher in elevation than Mauna Loa, to the south. While there are many clouds in the photo, the white areas around the two peaks are snow caps. The red marks indicate recent lava flows. Photo from

When I taught geography, I used to ask students the tallest mountain question and they would almost always know the ‘right’ answer. But then I’d say “No, the tallest mountain is on Mars. It’s called Olympus Mons and it’s twice as high as Mount Everest.”

Jim Fonseca

Geography professor (retired) writes The One Minute Geographer featuring This Fragile Earth. Top writer in Transportation and, in past months, Travel.