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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Massive Undersea Volcano Is World’s Largest
5 September 2013 4:00 pm
A broad, 4-kilometer-tall feature on the seafloor about 1500 kilometers east of Japan is the world’s largest volcano, a new analysis suggests. At its tallest point, Tamu Massif (at lower left and center in main image; oblique view in inset) lies more than 2 km below the ocean’s surface. Unlike most volcanic seamounts, which are steep and typically no more than a few tens of kilometers across, the gently sloping Tamu Massif covers 310,000 square kilometers—about the same as the British Isles, or the base of Mars’s Olympus Mons, the solar system’s largest known volcano. (Its base is shown in dark purple at lower right, for comparison.) The massif’s slopes are exceptionally shallow, often less than 1°, thanks to lava that flowed freely before hardening. Researchers think the Tamu Massif is a single volcano because rock samples (labeled dots) have similar chemistry, and seismic surveys show that broad layers of rock emanate from the center of the feature. Today, Tamu Massif sits far from the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate and is presumed dead, but 145 million years ago the caldera plumbed the intersection of three tectonic plates, the researchers note today in Nature Geoscience. They haven’t finished dating rock samples drilled from the peak, but it’s possible that the entire seamount could have been formed in a million years or less.