Alba Mons (formerly known as Alba Patera, a term that has since been restricted to the volcano's summit caldera) is an immense, low-lying volcano located in the northern Tharsis region of the planet Mars. It is the largest volcano on Mars in terms of area, with volcanic flow fields that extend for at least 1,350 km (840 mi) from its summit. Although the volcano has a span comparable to that of the United States, it reaches an elevation of only 6.8 km (22,000 ft) at its highest point. This is about one-third the height of Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano on the planet. The flanks of Alba Mons have very gentle slopes. The average slope along the volcano's northern (and steepest) flank is 0.5°, which is over five times lower than the slopes on the other large Tharsis volcanoes. In broad profile, Alba Mons resembles a vast but barely raised welt on the planet's surface. It is a unique volcanic structure with no counterpart on Earth or elsewhere on Mars.In addition to its great size and low relief, Alba Mons has a number of other distinguishing features. The central portion of the volcano is surrounded by an incomplete ring of faults (graben) and fractures, called Alba Fossae on the volcano's western flank and Tantalus Fossae on the eastern flank. The volcano also has very long, well preserved lava flows that form a radiating pattern from the volcano's central region. The enormous lengths of some individual flows (>300 km (190 mi)) implies that the lavas were very fluid (low viscosity) and of high volume. Many of the flows have distinctive morphologies, consisting of long, sinuous ridges with discontinuous central lava channels. The low areas between the ridges (particularly along the volcano's northern flank) show a branching pattern of shallow gullies and channels (valley networks) that likely formed by water runoff.Alba Mons has some of the oldest, extensively exposed volcanic deposits in the Tharsis region. Geologic evidence indicates that significant volcanic activity ended much earlier at Alba Mons than at Olympus Mons and the Tharsis Montes volcanoes. Volcanic deposits from Alba Mons range in age from Hesperian to early Amazonian (approximately 3600 to 3200 million years old).