Skip to main content

Largest volcano on Earth found, scientists say

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
September 7, 2013 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
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
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
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