Scientists find the largest volcano on Earth

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

One of the largest active volcanoes on Earth – Mauna Loa – is in the US state of Hawaii. However, it looks like a dwarf compared to a newly discovered underwater volcano called Tamu Massif! While Hawaii’s Mauna Loa covers approximately 2,000 square miles, Tamu Massif stretches its volcanic body across 120,000 square miles of land! According to researchers, that’s roughly the size of New Mexico. “It is in the same league as Olympus Mons on Mars, which had been considered to be the largest volcano in the solar system,” said William Sager, a geology professor at the University of Houston in Texas, one of the scientists who studied the volcano.

Interestingly, Tamu Massif is not like other volcanoes, in the sense that it’s really flat! While the average staircase is slanted 40 degrees, and beginner ski slopes are slanted 10 degrees, the massive volcano has about less than 1 degree of an angle! “If you were standing on the massif, you would have a hard time knowing which way is down,” said Sager.

Just a little fun fact, Sager came up with “Tamu” as an anagram for “Texas A&M University,” and “massif” for the French word meaning massive!

Featured image courtesy of IODP.