A 3D map of Tamu Massif Photo Credit: William Sager
Will you tremble in fear or drop a jaw in wonder once you hear about the recent scientists' discovery that the world's largest volcano can be found under the Pacific Ocean?
The largest volcano is called by the name of Tamu Massif which according to the Nature Geoscience journal has a measure of 310,000 sq km. This means that it is as huge as the Olympus Mons volcano of Mars. It is found about 2km below the Pacific Ocean, specifically on a plateau beneath the water called the Shatsky Rise.
Quick History on the World's Largest Volcano
According to researchers, Tamu Massif must have never risen to go above sea level during its entire lifetime, and it is less likely to erupt. Its form happened about 145 million years ago when a huge amount of lava flowed from its centre into a shield shaped feature.
What makes it all the more interesting is that no other underwater plateaus were discovered when the Cretaceous Period transpired. Professor William Sager of the University of Houston started studying the Tamu Massif about 20 years ago, but it remains unclear whether it was just one or numerous volcanoes on Earth.
Mr Sager added though that they do not have the tools yet to see what's inside them and study the structure better, but it wouldn't really surprise them if they find more Tamu Massifs out there. In fact, the largest when it comes to underwater plateaus is the Ontong Java seen on the eastern part of the Solomon Islands. It is the same as France's size.
Tamu Massif on Shatsky Rise Photo Credit: William Sager
So, do you ever wonder where the Tamu Massif got its name from? It is simply from the name of Texas A&M University where lead Professor Sager used to teach before he went on to University of Houston. He has studied the Shatsky Rise with his other close colleagues for more than a decade.