Syria Planum and Alba Patera are two of the most prominent features of magmatic-driven activity identified for the Tharsis region and perhaps for all of Mars. In this study, we have performed a Geographic Information System-based comparative investigation of their tectonic histories using published geologic map information and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimetry (MOLA) data. Our primary objective is to assess their evolutional histories by focusing on their extent of deformation in space and time through stratigraphic, paleotectonic, topographic, and geomorphologic analyses. Though there are similarities among the two prominent features, there are several distinct differences, including timing deformational extent, and tectonic intensity of formation. Whereas Alba Patera displays a major pulse of activity during the Late Hesperian/Early Amazonian, Syria Planum is a long-lived center that displays a more uniform distribution of simple graben densities ranging from the Noachian to the Amazonian, many of which occur at greater distances away from the primary center of activity. The histories of the two features presented here are representative of the complex, long-lived evolutional history of Tharsis. ?? 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.