Those who think Hawaii’s legendary Mauna Loa is the biggest active volcano on Earth may be wrong as the scientists have identified another volcano in the Pacific Ocean which they assume to be the largest.
Called Tamu Massif, this enormous dormant or inactive volcano is located within the huge underwater mountain range called Shatsky Rise formation about 1609 kilometers east of Japan. It covers an area of about 311,000 square kilometers of ocean bottom some 1981 meters to 6.5 kilometers below the water’s surface.
Tamu Massif covers an area that’s roughly equivalent to the size of the British Isles or the US state of New Mexico and it is among the most massive volcanoes found so far in the solar system. Till now, Mount Olympus on Mars is considered to the biggest volcano in the solar system, according to the researchers.
“Tamu Massif is the biggest single shield volcano ever discovered on Earth,” said the University of Houston’s William Sager, who led the research. “There may be larger volcanoes, because there are bigger igneous features out there such as the Ontong Java Plateau, but we don’t know if these features are one volcano or complexes of volcanoes.”
Scientists have still to find more details about the newly discovered volcano. They say Tamil Massif has been known to exist for some time but it is still not clear that whether it was a single volcano or a collection of multiple eruption points.
This major finding has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.