A while back, we had a meme traveling around the geoblogosphere regarding evil volcano lairs. Many geologists came up with excellent lairs, as you shall see. But I decided we needed to think big as well as think evil. I also decided that an evil geologist would scoff at other evil geologists' choices, because evil, hello. The results were out of this world... and as I am currently snowed under trying to get a book finished and persuade a very elderly cat to eat, and some of you wanted more unearthly geology, I figured now would be a great time for a fun blast-from-the-past. Be sure to investigate the linked lairs, too, as they are awesome (Evil Dana couldn't admit that, of course). Enjoy!

Erik Klemetti may sneer at the Geological Society of London's Top 5 choices for evil volcano lairs, but then he picks Mt. Erebus for his? Sure, he'll have well-dressed minions, but he'll also be too ice-bound for true evil. Jessica Ball's on to something with Pagan Island, but her evil lair will be overrun with tourists within six months. Garry Hayes has a beautiful evil setting in Mount Shasta, but everyone knows you can't rely on Lemurians to carry out one's plans for world domination. Silver Fox isn't disclosing the location of her evil lair, which is wise, but it's not even a volcano. You can't have an evil volcano lair if there's no volcano.

No, the truly evil geologist knows there's only one volcano that qualifies as an Evil Volcano Lair.

Image is a photo of Olympus Mons from space. It is huge.

Olympus Mons. Image Credit: NASA


It's three times the height of Everest. What evil geologist wouldn't want their lair located in the tallest volcano in the solar system? And at 370 miles wide, there's plenty of room for an evil empire to spread out. This will be critical as plans for world - nay, solar system - domination come to fruition. Since Olympus Mons covers an area the size of Arizona, no henchmen have to worry about doubling-up.

Image is a satellite photo of Olympus Mons with an outline of Arizona imposed over it. The volcano basically fills the entire state.

Olympus Mons relative to Arizona. Image Credit: NASA/JPL


It has a total of six calderas in its summit, which are up to two miles deep. These are idea for placement of death rays and lasers and other implements necessary to the proper functioning of an evil empire.

Image shows the summit calderas of Olympus Mons. There are several overlapping circles within the largest one.

Olympus Mons Calderas. Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)



And the volcano's outer edge is an escarpment up to five miles high, with a wide moat roughly one mile deep encircling. Every lair should have a moat. We don't even have to dig one, thus freeing my henchmen for other nefarious tasks.

As an added evil bonus, Olympus Mons' extreme elevation means that any pesky do-gooder secret agent types will not be able to parachute in. There's not enough atmosphere up there for a parachute to slow their decent. I don't expect them to land. I expect them to die...

And a thick dust layer will bog down any rovers my nemesis manages to sneak up there. This will not be a problem for me and my evil lair construction equipment because I am an evil genius. I'd tell you my plans for overcoming the technical obstacles, but then I'd have to kill you.

Olympus Mons is loaded with lava tubes, which provide ideal locations for cunning and complicated traps. Some of the tubes will be quite large, which will give our lair the proper deep, dark, sinister cave ambiance. Ambiance is important, and should never be underrated in an enterprise of this sort.

One may even find water-saturated zones in the sediments beneath the volcano, which will still be toasty warm due to residual heat from the magma chamber and the geothermal gradient. This ensures my henchmen will always have access to hot showers without diverting critical energy resources away from the death rays, lasers, et al. As dirty henchmen lead to an unhappy evil empire, this is an important consideration. Then again, who needs henchmen when you can have... robots! So perhaps I shall keep all of the hot water for my own personal use.

Olympus Mons is suitably close to Earth for climactic takeovers to be easily launched, yet far enough away that the place will not be overrun daily by pesky secret agents. Viruses can be mutated by leaving them outside the protective shell of the ship while in transit, thus ensuring victory over Earth's population. And additional funds to finance the evil empire can be obtained by selling transport and renting facilities to scientists, who will not be able to pass up the chance to personally investigate the Red Planet. Geologists will be given a discount, of course.

With Olympus Mons as my evil volcano lair, nothing shall stop my evil plans. Nothing!

[Fade to the Doctor sauntering into said lair with orange space suit, sonic screwdriver, and cheeky grin.]

Information and images filched from: Wikipedia, NASA's Mars Exploration Program, ESA's Mars Express, and the NSSDC Photo Gallery. Special thanks to the creators of Austin Powers and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Stay evil, my friends!