Earth's Largest Volcano Tamu Massif

Earth’s largest Volcano, the size of Oregon, discovered beneath the Pacific Ocean. The extinct megavolcano it’s called Tamu Massif and sits 1,000 miles east of Japan.    Image © William Sager /University of Houston

Scientists have confirmed that could be the second largest in the solar system, even rivals Olympus Mons on Mars.



The Tamu Massif volcano is 400-mile wide, its tip is 6,500 feet below the ocean surface and rock samples suggest it formed around 145 million years ago.

William Sager, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston, said:

“Tamu Massif is the biggest single shield volcano ever discovered on Earth.

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.



It’s not high, but very wide, so the flank slopes are very gradual,’ said Sager.

In fact, if you were standing on its flank, you would have trouble telling which way is downhill.

We know that it is a single immense volcano constructed from massive lava flows that emanated from the center of the volcano to form a broad, shield-like shape.”

Olympus Mons volcano on Mars

The Olympus Mons volcano on Mars, pictured, is thought to be the largest in the solar system.    Image © NASA

Earth's Largest Volcano found - map

A comparison between Tamu Massif volcano and Olympus Mons volcano on Mars.    Image © William Sager /University of Houston

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