A volcano the size of New Mexico has been discovered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean about a thousand miles to the east of Japan.
But don’t worry, researchers say that the newly discovered volcano has been extinct for millions of years.
The Washington Post reports that the new volcano, named Tamu Massif, is the single largest volcano ever discovered. Tamu Massif is larger than Mauna Loa, a volcano in Hawaii, and rivals Olumpus Mons, a volcano on Mars.
Geophysicist William W. Sager of the University of Houston, said: “Olympus Mons is the 800-pound gorilla of the solar system… We didn’t know these massive volcanoes were here on Earth.”
Clive R. Neal, a volcanologist at the University of Notre Dame, agreed with Sager saying that the discovery will completely change the way people think about volcanoes on earth.
Neal said: “This finding is paving the way to really rewriting some of the textbooks… The term ‘supervolcano’ might be a reality.”
Tamu Massif may have a gigantic footprint but it is a relatively small in height. Olympus Mons, for example, rises 16 miles into the martian sky. Tamu Massif only stands a few miles above the sea floor.
Here’s a video about Tamu Massif.
If Tamu Massif was an active volcano it would be something to be very, very worried about. Thankfully, the largest volcano has been inactive for a few million years.
Neal said: “That’s probably a good thing, since we’ve been able to correlate mass extinction with some of these beasts.”
[Image Via University of Houston]