Does Mauna Loa Measure Up?

We’d never thought the day would come, but apparently, a Hawaii Island volcano is no longer considered the world’s largest. Scientists discovered an underwater volcano near Japan that’s about 60 times larger than the previous title holder, Mauna Loa.

Science mag “Nature Geoscience” reports that the submerged volcano is more than 120,000 square miles (Mauna Loa is about 2,000 square miles). It sits about 6,500 feet below the ocean surface and goes by the name Tamu Massif. “Tamu” is an acronym for Texas A&M University, where the lead geologist who made the discovery works. “Massif” means massive in French.

While Mauna Loa may not be the largest, it is still the tallest active volcano on the planet. It rises to over 30,000 feet from the Pacific Ocean floor. Perhaps we’ll find some comfort in that – unless, of course, another discovery trumps all of that.

Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that made the Hawaii Island. It last erupted in the 1980s and is long overdue for another. This is unlike its younger neighbor, Kilauea, which has been actively erupting in recent years.

Photo Courtesy: Wiki Commons