Skip to main content

Largest volcano on Earth found, scientists say

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Sat September 7, 2013
Tungurahua, in the Ecuadorian Andes, puts on a fiery show in 2011. Tungurahua, in the Ecuadorian Andes, puts on a fiery show in 2011.
HIDE CAPTION
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
Unpredictable earth
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The underwater volcano is called Tamu Massif
  • It is about the size of New Mexico state
  • Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles

(CNN) -- Move over, Mauna Loa.

A group of scientists say they've found a volcano bigger than you.

Way bigger.

An underwater volcano dubbed Tamu Massif was found some 1,000 miles east of Japan, says William Sager, a professor at the University of Houston, who led a team of scientists in the discovery.

World's largest volcano discovered

The volcano is about the size of the state of New Mexico and is among the largest in the solar system, Sager says.

World's coolest volcanoes

Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles. In comparison, the largest active volcano on land, Hawaii's Mauna Loa, is about 2,000 square miles, Sager says.

"Its shape is different from any other sub-marine volcano found on Earth, and it's very possible it can give us some clues about how massive volcanoes can form," Sager says.

Tamu Massif is believed to be about 145 million years old, and became inactive within a few million years after it was formed.

The volcano was partly named in honor of Texas A&M University, where Sager worked for 29 years before moving to the University of Houston. Tamu is the university's abbreviation while massif is the French word for "massive" and a scientific term for a large mountain mass, according to Sager.

31 beautiful sights on this incredible planet

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 7:40 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
updated 12:34 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
updated 11:17 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT