A volcano found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean off Japan is one of the largest ever found – IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
The Texas research team were so proud of their discovery that they named it after themselves.
Meet Tamu Massif, after the Texas A&M University and the French word for “massive”.
It’s about 310,000 square kilometres in area – roughly the size of Victoria and Tasmania combined.
To put that in context, the largest active volcano on the planet is Mauna Loa in Hawaii, covering 5200 square kilometres.
To find a proper rival for Tamu Massif, you’d have to look to Mars, where Olympus Mons reigns supreme as the Solar System’s largest volcano.
However, while Olympus Mons would tower above Tamu Massif – 20km to 3.5km – “its volume is only around 25 per cent larger”, says the A&M team.
The man who has been studying what he thought was a cluster of volcanoes in the region for 20 years, William Sager, had only recently come to the realisation that it was a single mound.
“We got tired of referring to them as the one on the left, the one on the right and the big one,” he told Tamu Times.
“We knew it was big, but we had no idea it was one large volcano,” he adds.
Their findings have been published in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.
So the big question – when will it erupt?
There’s no need to panic. Sager says that Tamu Massif is about 145 million years old, and became inactive within a few million years after it was formed.
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