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The World’s Largest Volcano Discovered

Update Date: Sep 06, 2013 01:51 PM EDT

It is hard to believe that something the size of Arizona could remain undetected for years in current day society where technology has advanced dramatically. But for this one volcano, that feat was accomplished for years until now. According to scientists, they have uncovered the world's largest volcano just 1,000 miles east of Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

The volcano, Tamu Massif, measures in at 280 miles by 400 miles. The entire shield of the volcano is around the size of the British Isles. Due to the volcano's immense size, it is now considered one of the largest structures within our solar system. Despite this recent and exciting discovery, the Tamu Massif is not a new structure. Geologists have previously identified the Tamu Massif, but they had believed that it was made up of several smaller volcanoes.

 "One of the real things you have as a marine geologist or marine geophysicist is that these things have found a good place to hide," lead author William Sager said. "It's easier to study something on the surface of Mars in many ways than it is to study something that's right out there in the ocean. It's not like we didn't know that there was something out there. It's just taken generations to get the time and money and to focus on it and get out there and study it."

However, due to new research conducted from 2010 to 2012 at the Texas A&M University and the University of Houston, the geologists announced that the Tamu Massif is one single basalt shield volcano. In order to conclude their recent discovery, the researchers had sailed over the massive structure and sent seismic waves with the help of air guns. The team had also drilled core samples that were coming out of the ocean floor from the volcano.

"We saw what appear to be lava flows going out from the center of the volcano in all directions, with no obvious large secondary source of volcanism," said Sager according to USA Today. This indicated that the Tamu Massif could very well be "one huge volcano." 

The report was published in the journal, Nature Geoscience.

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