Home » Earth Biggest Volcano Discovered

Earth Biggest Volcano Discovered

Earth Biggest Volcano Discovered

The biggest volcano on Earth has been discovered. In fact it is around the size of the state of New Mexico and is in fact is rivaling some of the largest volcanoes in our solar system.

This monster is underwater and has been named Tamu Massif. It was discovered approximately 1,000 miles off the eastern coast of Japan. The volcano is in the Pacific Northwest to the giant, stated William Sager. He is a professor at the University of Houston, and was the top scientific lead in the volcanic discovery. The discovery has been printed up in the journal Nature Geoscience. It details the complete outline of the researchers discovery.

It was formerly thought that the area, where the volcano is located, was a spot that had many eruption spots instead of just one. However, core samples and other evidence which has been found, has confirmed that Tamu Massif erupted from one single, dominant source.

The volcano is reported to cover an area of over about 120,000 square miles. To compare this to the biggest active volcano on land, that would be Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii. It is approximately 2,000 square miles. That is quite a difference in size, but at that size, the land volcano is basically just a proportional speck in comparison. It is less than 2 percent in size of the Tamu Massif super volcano.

The shape of this massive volcano is different from any other sub-marine volcano that has ever been found on Earth. It is very possible this will be able to give scientists some clues on how such enormous volcanoes are able to form.

But even with its enormous size, the scientist’s research believe the volcano has never peaked above the ocean. The largest volcano on Earth has stayed hidden because it is sitting on a thin oceanic crust, which would not be able to support the volcano’s massive weight. The top is around 6,500 feet under the ocean.

This massive volcano is also thought to be around 145 million years old. It is believed it went inactive a few million years after it formed under the sea.

The volcano was named partly in honor of the university where Sager was first employed. He then went to Houston to work. Tamu is an abbreviation while massif is French for “massive” and also refers to parts of the Earth’s crust which has been defined by faults. It is also a scientific term used to name enormous mountain masses, stated Sager.

He added that they knew Tamu Massif was big, but they had no idea it was one great volcano, when he was discussing the volcano’s discovery.

There is another volcano which is more worth mentioning to give a comparison to Tamu Massif. It is named Olympus Mons, and is located on Mars. It is so huge that individuals from Earth standing in their backyards, on a clear night, can see it. The massive Olympus Mons volcano on Mars is only about 25 percent bigger in size than Tamu Massif, the biggest volcano on Earth.

By Kimberly Ruble


Discover Magazine


PBS News