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World’s Largest Volcano?

Posted by feww on September 8, 2013

Massive Volcano Discovered in NW Pacific Ocean

Researchers have discovered an immense shield volcano on the seabed, northwest Pacific Ocean.

Tamu Massif is said to be the oldest and largest edifice of the Shatsky Rise oceanic plateau in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

A single, immense volcano, Tamu Massif is constructed from massive lava flows that erupted from the center of volcano to form a broad, shield-like dome some 145 million years ago.

Researchers writing in the journal Nature Geoscience suggest the 310,000 km² (119,000 mi²) Tamu Massif could be the largest single volcano on Earth, comparable in size only to the Olympus Mons on Mars, believed to be the largest volcano in the Solar System.

Tamu Massif
The Tamu Massif Volcano ~ 32.5ºN, 158.4ºE

Rising 3.5km above the seabed, Massif lies about 2km below the sea, and is rooted more than 30 km into the earth’s crust on the Shatsky Rise, some 1,600 km east of Japan.

“We don’t have the data to see inside them and know their structure, but it would not surprise me to find out that there are more like Tamu out there,” said Dr Sager, one of the researchers at the University of Houston.

“Indeed, the biggest oceanic plateau is Ontong Java plateau, near the equator in the Pacific, east of the Solomons Islands. It is much bigger than Tamu—it’s the size of France.” [Tamu is nearly the size of Norway. Editor]

Key point

“One interesting angle is that there were lots of oceanic plateaus (that) erupted during the Cretaceous Period (145-65 million years ago) but we don’t see them since. Scientists would like to know why.” Sager said.

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