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New Giant Volcano Below Sea Is Largest In the World

samzenpus posted 1 year,17 days | from the biggest-there-is dept.

Science 105

An anonymous reader writes "If you're a fan of gigantic volcanoes you'll be happy to know that the biggest volcano on Earth, and one of the biggest in the solar system, has just been discovered under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles east of Japan. From the article: 'Called Tamu Massif, the giant shield volcano had been thought to be a composite of smaller structures, but now scientists say they must rethink long-held beliefs about marine geology. "This finding goes against what we thought, because we found that it's one huge volcano," said William Sager, a geology professor at the University of Houston in Texas. Sager is lead author in a study about the find that was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience. "It is in the same league as Olympus Mons on Mars, which had been considered to be the largest volcano in the solar system," Sager told National Geographic.'"

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Yep (1, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772553)

Yep, there is bunch of stuff that is hiding under water in the sea that we haven't discovered yet.

Re:Yep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772675)

Volcanoe in my pants.

Re:Yep (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | 1 year,17 days | (#44773437)

I wonder when the evil genius of the week is moving in down there?

Re:Yep (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,16 days | (#44775487)

I wonder when the evil genius of the week is moving in down there?

Ahem. This is where Godzilla lives.

Re:Yep (5, Interesting)

sFurbo (1361249) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772713)

There is, but this is not a case of that: The massif was known, the new part is that it is not multiple volcanoes, but one.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772747)

so they redefined what it is made of.. and boom, one giant volcano instead of a bunch of little stuff... kinda like redefining planets.. poof there goes planet pluto. science is cool and all, but fuck.. if something's existed for thousands or millions and millions of years.. it's not something that needs to be redefined.

Re:Yep (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772899)

They didn't "redefine" it, they studied it until they understood it better. If you go to the doctor, are you upset because you get a diagnosis of a specific bacterial infection and a prescription for antibiotics instead of a diagnosis of "fever" and a bleeding to restore the balance of your bodily humors?

Re:Yep (1)

AJH16 (940784) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774257)

But then the evil pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be getting rich off our tax dollars...!! /sarcasm

Re:Yep (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | 1 year,16 days | (#44776755)

Ah, well, yes, there is that.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44778789)

But then the evil pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be getting rich off our tax dollars...!! /sarcasm

You seem to imply that the EPC - evil pharmaceutical companies - alone created the drug, not researchers paid for primarily by the taxpayer. That's where the anger is, that the EPC is restricting access to it via excess profits ("Free" market profit is zero due to competition). The fact that tax payers themselves are priced out of some drugs they paid to develop is just gas on the fire.

Re:Yep (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | 1 year,16 days | (#44777771)

Hey, our planet is one giant volcano! It has lava inside it and it spews out from different cracks and holes from time to time. See, it's easy to one-up the last guy. Now let's see anyone one-up me.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772737)

Go Go Godzilla!

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44773317)

Of course if it's in the sea and not hiding underwater there may be a proble...

Re:Yep (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774087)

Some of it dark and terrible...

Re:Yep (1)

mrego (912393) | 1 year,16 days | (#44775371)

Does this look like the map of Middle Earth?

To heck with Mars (1)

plopez (54068) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774289)

We need to explore and discover our own planet first. There is in fact much greater opportunity to have viable undersea colonies on Earth than building colonies on Mars.

Re:To heck with Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44776267)

We need to explore and discover our own planet first. There is in fact much greater opportunity to have viable undersea colonies on Earth than building colonies on Mars.

Space has it's challenges... getting there takes a lot of energy, and living there safely is challenging as well. But the vacuum of space and the thin atmosphere of Mars only requires a vessel to withstand anything between zero and one atmosphere. Water is dense. Just 10m below the surface, and the pressure is twice that at the surface (2 atmospheres). The problems will increase dramatically with depth. In many respects, an underwater colony is far more difficult to achieve than a permanent base on the Moon or on Mars.

Re:To heck with Mars (1)

plopez (54068) | 1 year,16 days | (#44779253)

That is just one factor. Consider:
1) Shorter distance to transport materials, colonists, and supplies.
2) Abundance of food.
3) Easier communications.
4) Easier rescue missions.
5) Plenty of water :)
6) Easier to get oxygen from water.

I'm sure there are others. That is just a short list. There is no way we can get a significant number of colonists onto Mars in 20 to 30 years. It would be easier to colonize at least continental waters in that time span.

Re:To heck with Mars (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | 1 year,16 days | (#44777251)

Why do you assume we can only do one or the other? What's wrong with working on both? There is much to be learned in either pursuit, and the benefits of either could be enormous.

In space, there is zero-G and Zero Atmosphere, alien planets, etc..

in the oceans are high pressures, lots of water, strange animals, etc..

or, are you one of those who thinks all spending should go to welfare of socialist programs first? That's ann endless money pit that does no one any good.

Re:To heck with Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44778867)

Why do you assume we can only do one or the other? What's wrong with working on both? There is much to be learned in either pursuit, and the benefits of either could be enormous.

In space, there is zero-G and Zero Atmosphere, alien planets, etc..

in the oceans are high pressures, lots of water, strange animals, etc..

or, are you one of those who thinks all spending should go to welfare of socialist programs first? That's ann endless money pit that does no one any good.

First off, most who decry the expense of space exploration for oceanic will protest taxes going to oceanic exploration too. Next, no, of course they don't want it spent on welfare. Well, not to citizens anyway. Corporate welfare is fine by them though. You pay income tax at ~30% on gross, corp's pay at 15% on net. They'll babble nonsense about double taxation, but if it really wasn't so advantageous to be a corporation, why is every billionaire entity either a corporation or an owner of one or more? They just don't want to pay for taxes, especially with the Time of Revelation so near at hand (its been near at hand for every generation for at least 200 years of course, checking any newspapers....)

Re:Yep (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | 1 year,16 days | (#44777157)

Since it's off Japan, you're talking about Godzilla, right?

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44779017)

Yep, there is bunch of stuff that is hiding under water in the sea that we haven't discovered yet.

I wish Obamazilla was there...

In the solar system? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772583)

Sorry if this may seem ignorant, but how can we be sure it might be the biggest volcano in the solar system if we only just discovered this one on *our* planet?

Re:In the solar system? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772649)

Sorry if this may seem ignorant, but how can we be sure it might be the biggest volcano in the solar system if we only just discovered this one on *our* planet?

You're really asking that question from a species who thinks they're the only higher life forms in the entire universe, birthed from Adam and Eve?

Of course it's one of the biggest volcanos. Because we said so. Don't try and confuse facts with mans ability to be ignorant or unreasonable. After all, we did invent religion.

Re: In the solar system? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772855)

Hey but global warmin.... I mean climate change is a FACT! Science backs it up and it is irrefutable!!

It's never been refuted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772967)

But I guess you think that this is because of a Giant Conspiracy (tm) rather than you being a complete fucking moron.

Re: In the solar system? (0)

mrbester (200927) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772703)

There aren't many planets made of rock, and we know more about them than the one we live on.

Re: In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44773165)

True, but to be fair, the Earth is the only one which is 70-75% percent covered by a liquid which does not make topography amenable to simple visual (Mars) and/or radar mapping (Venus and to a lesser extent Titan, which is not exactly made of rocks).

Re:In the solar system? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772721)

It didn't say it was the biggest volcano in the solar system, but one of the biggest. The biggest known one is Alba Mons on Mars, which is a staggering 5.7 million square kilometres in size. Olympus Mons, also on Mars, is in the range of 300,000 square kilometres, so is the Tamu Massif on Earth, so these two volcanoes compete for the #2 spot. Only other places besides Earth and Mars that have or ever had active volcanoes are Venus and Io. Venus's largest (Maat Mons) is less than half the size of Olympus Mons/Tamu Massif, and Io's largest (Inachus Tholus) is only a tenth that.

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44773721)

Alba Mons is the name of actress Jessica Alba's...um...nether region. While I've sadly never seen it myself, I understand that it's really not that big, geologically speaking.

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44774147)

TFA I read this morning said it was the biggest YET DISCOVERED in the solar system in area. The Martian vocano is more massive but not a spread out.

Re:In the solar system? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774797)

Mars is smaller than Earth so you would expect larger volcanos, Venus is about the same size but does not have a moon to create tidal forces in the crust. Many of the gas giant moons have cyro-volcanos, this one is purple [google.com.au] , but take a look at the surface and it's clear that Jupiter's moon Io could be considered one giant spherical volcano..

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44776339)

It didn't say it was the biggest volcano in the solar system, but one of the biggest.

Why is there no mention or comparison to Yosemite? Isn't Yosemite even larger? And not extinct?

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44780935)

Yosemite is made up of many volcanoes, none of which is very large by itself.

Re:In the solar system? (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | 1 year,16 days | (#44773799)

You can safely assume a "that we know of" clause on every scientific statement ever made. Scientists don't bother actually stating it because it would get rather repetitive and unreadable, plus it's not the only such assumed qualification and including them all would make science papers and books about 20x longer.

And of course the claim you state was never made anyway since we already know of bigger volcanoes. Which is an example of these implied qualifications: the Mars volcanoes are not active, to the best of our knowledge they are volcanoes - the geology matches what we expect volcanoes to be and so on. However, a volcano by definition requires a magma chamber and we since they aren't active we can't be 100% sure. There is no other mainstream explanation and they fit volcanoes like a glove so no qualifications would usually actually be stated, the electric universe folk think they are scars from electrical discharges as an example of a completely different interpretation.

Re:In the solar system? (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | 1 year,16 days | (#44777853)

I found that electric universe theory to be kind of interesting. The raised edge of Olympus Mons seems to be un-volcanic like. And if the one on Io is actually moving like they said, that is hard to explain as a volcano. So maybe we do have the largest volcano in the solar system.

Re:In the solar system? (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774117)

> Sorry if this may seem ignorant, but how can we be sure it might be the biggest volcano in the solar system if we only just discovered this one on *our* planet?

This is not an ignorant question at all. We are not sure if it is the largest volcano in the Solar System, we just know that it is the largest that we know of on Earth, and one of the largest that we know of in the Solar System. We will not be sure until we have completely explored the entire ocean floor, under the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, and the surfaces of every rocky planet and moon in the Solar System. We need to get busy.

Re:In the solar system? (2)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774675)

We will not be sure until we have completely explored ... the surfaces of every rocky planet and moon in the Solar System.

Is there a particular reason that you are excluding the gas giants?

Re:In the solar system? (2)

AlecC (512609) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774985)

The gas giants are believed not to have an actual surface, but rather a steadily increasing density from what we could call gas to what we would call solid. It is difficult to see how a volcano, which has a defined surface, could exist. If as surface does, contrary to belief, exist, we cannot see it and therefore can say nothing about its structure - including volcanoes.

Re:In the solar system? (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,16 days | (#44776719)

Sorry. I don't buy it. If there is solid matter, then it must have a surface. At some point there are going to be molecules that are part of the solid's lattice, and some that are not.

Re:In the solar system? (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | 1 year,16 days | (#44779261)

Sorry. I don't buy it. If there is solid matter, then it must have a surface. At some point there are going to be molecules that are part of the solid's lattice, and some that are not.

Hmmm... is it really meaningful to talk about a "surface" under pressures and temperatures at the center of Jupiter? It seems like current theory is that the core of jupiter is a giant molten soup, but with that amount of mass there could be something exotic and cool like a sea of giant carbon crystals floating on the molten core.... would you call that a surface?

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44780299)

Maybe read about thermodynamical critical points, where above certain temperatures or other conditions you can have graduate changes without no well defined phase change.

Re:In the solar system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44779491)

The way it can be one of the biggest in the solar system is this:
1. Get a Gizmodo writer to do a piece on the discovery.
2. Have the Giz writer do his own math, and do it horribly, horribly wrong.
3. Read the Gizmodo article which states that the mountain in question is 5 times Everest's height, even though the reality is that the newly-discovered volcano is less than half Everest's height.
4. Believe this ridiculous premise on its face and post to /.

Done!

so what did they think actually ? (0)

richlv (778496) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772585)

"Called Tamu Massif, the giant shield volcano had been thought to be a composite of smaller structures"

"This finding goes against what we thought, because we found that it's one huge volcano,"

Re:so what did they think actually ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772681)

"had been thought to be a composite of smaller structures"

This is what they thought

Re:so what did they think actually ? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772689)

They thought is was a composite of many smaller volcanoes and have discovered it's not.

Like discovering that the Himalaya is a single mountain that's been cut in several pointy tops by... monks, or something.

Re:so what did they think actually ? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772717)

Previously, it was thought to be a composite of many smaller volcanoes. Now, it is thought to be one volcano.

Re:so what did they think actually ? (1)

richlv (778496) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772989)

hah. if i read it carefully, it actually makes much more sense ;)

2nd Post ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772591)

Should we really worry about this Volcano erupting ?

Re:2nd Post ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772605)

RTFA,

It has been dead for 145 million years

Re:2nd Post ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772745)

So, any day now

Re:2nd Post ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772925)

The last time it erupted was two million years after its formation. So, most likely never again.

Re:2nd Post ? (2)

JustOK (667959) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772919)

Zombie Volcanoes!

Re:2nd Post ? (1)

sckienle (588934) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774925)

Quick, get your proposal into SyFy now, before someone else steals it!

Re:2nd Post ? (2)

JustOK (667959) | 1 year,16 days | (#44775337)

I tried, they only wanted wrassling volcanoes.

"This finding goes against what we thought" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772593)

And this is the fundamental problem with science.... "WHAT WE THOUGHT!!" -- "Goes against beliefs"-- "doesnt coincide with what when thought we knew about earths forces" and since computers are man made, and of course think like mankind, because they were made and programmed by man we truly are F$$k..

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (4, Insightful)

Farmer Tim (530755) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772827)

No, it isn't a fundamental problem with science; they changed what they thought when new evidence to the contrary came to light. That's exactly how science is supposed to work.

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (4, Interesting)

Safety Cap (253500) | 1 year,16 days | (#44773769)

That's exactly how science is supposed to work.

The master said it best:

The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong.

My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
— Issac Asimov, The relativity of wrong [tufts.edu]

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774851)

You beat me to it. ;)

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772929)

And this is a fundamental problem with religious fundamentalists... they can't handle the fact that scientists can change their minds when fresh evidence emerges.

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44773853)

Recent data does not support that statement. No climate models predicted the temperatures that occurred for the past 15 years yet scientists have not changed the tune that the sky is falling.

The smartest thing they could do is say "I don't know" or "The data does not support a conclusion".

But I doubt if they have the courage since it would not be good for their reputations or wallets.

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44774681)

Except that the actual data used does. Of course the right wing nuttery "data" that you've been propagandized with doesn't, it's been stripped of any incriminating evidence as usual.

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774903)

Sorry Mr Anonymous internet guy, it appears your data is corrupt, not theirs.

Re:"This finding goes against what we thought" (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | 1 year,16 days | (#44779359)

That's because they deal in dogma and sell certainty. Can't be a confidence trickster without plenty of confidence.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772595)

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Re: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fh (3, Funny)

mrbester (200927) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772699)

I recommend Sudafed

Re: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fh (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | 1 year,16 days | (#44774135)

We will need a very large Sudafed capsule to calm down the Deep One.

Re: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fh (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,16 days | (#44775011)

Sorry, no mod points, just laughter and applause. :)

WTF National Geographic??!! (2)

torsmo (1301691) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772603)

What's with the 10 million cookie requests? Never visiting the fucking site again.

Re:WTF National Geographic??!! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772619)

Really, and National Geographic without pictures is like Anita Bryant without orange juice.

Re:WTF National Geographic??!! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772739)

Dammit. I was happily unaware of the existence of Anita Bryant until you posted.

Biggest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772611)

"It is in the same league as Olympus Mons on Mars, which had been considered to be the largest volcano in the solar system,"

But how does it compare to Mons Veneris?

It's not a volcano (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772613)

we need to start building giant robots, stat!

I always thought... mars looked like giant empty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772621)

sea beds... I wonder what elevation is mons, and if mars had water would it be in an ocean. And are we being silly and looking for the remnents of life on dried and desecated sea beds?

Also this is cool... who woulda guessed? Seaquest ftw...

Re:I always thought... mars looked like giant empt (1)

Amouth (879122) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772961)

Seaquest ftw...

Great show, until they went the Alien route, completely killed it.. (like most shows that attempt it)...

But in reality, i'd love to see people start moving under the ocean to both live and work, i think it would be awesome.

omg, the kaiju are comming (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772653)

we need to build grappling monsters, now!

Re:omg, the kaiju are comming (1)

Khan (19367) | 1 year,17 days | (#44773211)

Blast! You beat me to posting this :)

The answer to Marvin the Martian's question... (1)

russbutton (675993) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772673)

Where's the kaboom?

Same league as Olympus Mons? (2)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772683)

How? Olympus Mons is 22km high. Volcano in question is barely 4km tall.

Re: Same league as Olympus Mons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772729)

Dead for 145 million years I guess we're ok
But yes on height 22km was said for mars

Re:Same league as Olympus Mons? (4, Informative)

dido (9125) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772731)

They're compared in terms of surface area. Both Olympus Mons and the Tamu Massif occupy an area approximately 300,000 square kilometres.

Re:Same league as Olympus Mons? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,16 days | (#44773727)

They should probably come up with a better definition of "largest volcano" then. I vote for measuring the amount of magma that spews forth from the volcano in the average month. A dormant volcano, no matter how large, isn't really that exciting to me. By a tiny little volcano that spews forth billlions of litres of magma on a daily basis would be awesome. Olympus Mons appears to be a dead volcano, which makes it no more interesting to me than any other large mountain. It's still pretty cool as far as mountains go, just based on it's height.

It's not 'new' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772755)

It's not new but at least 130 million years old. It just has been established that it's the largest *single* volcano on earth:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905142817.htm

Re:It's not 'new' (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772923)

What's the largest married volcano?

Re:It's not 'new' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44773989)

Your momma!

Re:It's not 'new' (1)

JustOK (667959) | 1 year,16 days | (#44775299)

My momma is not now, nor has she ever been, married.

They wrote about this in Sanctuary (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | 1 year,17 days | (#44772801)

They wrote about this in Sanctuary, so now we need to be afraid, very afraid :-)

Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44772893)

Sounds like we'll have a few more Earth destruction movies in a couple years.

So, Pacific Rim was right? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44773135)

I for one welcome our new giant monsters overlords.

Only half way there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44773341)

1: Underground base. Check.
2: Worlds biggest volcano. Check.
3. Sharks with frikking laser beams! To Do.
4: Large force of expandable henchmen. Advert up in the Evening Post.

Re:Only half way there. (1)

MiniMike (234881) | 1 year,16 days | (#44773717)

4: Large force of expandable henchmen. Advert up in the Evening Post.

Make sure you put the advert in the restaurant section.

Extinct volcano (2)

jonfr (888673) | 1 year,17 days | (#44773383)

This volcano is extinct and it is not producing any lava today or magma for that matter. So this is now just an volcano that nature is weathering down slowly.

A couple of details that bugs me (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,17 days | (#44773479)

If this really is the largest volcano in the world by surface area, then why didn't it break the surface like the Hawaiian volcanoes have managed? That sounds to me like flood basalt activity (which for some reason isn't treated quite like normal volcanic eruptions, perhaps due to the relative lack of historical precedent). We have bigger examples of flood basalts on Earth already (by surface area and probably by volume), the Deccan Traps of central India and Siberian Traps (which cover a third of Siberia) as well as similar examples on the Moon.

Further, while I don't know about any lunar examples that might be near point-sourced, both the Earth-side examples I mention above have most lava in the system coming from a common source, some sort of series of dikes or cracks in a relatively small area compared to the total eruption's surface area. At this point, all we know is that the Tamu Massif has a common source which could be a similar structure to these flood basalts (which may in turn be obscured by a somewhat more normal volcanic eruption of the same system covering the initial eruption zone).

A similar thing seems to be true of the duration of eruptions. Neither of the above flood basalts appears to have erupted for more than a few million years, durations that are comparable to the Tamu Massif's alleged duration of eruptions.

So I guess for me, the question is why is Tamu Massif considered a single volcano, but not the Deccan Traps or the Siberian Traps?

Re:A couple of details that bugs me (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44773983)

Consider that the oldest Hawaiian island is only about 20-30 million years old, and that the oldest part of the hot spot chain of sea mounts is about 85 million years ago. So this is quite a bit older than the timescale it takes for some (at least smaller) islands to erode down to a stub. And the difference between this and a flood might have to do with basalt floods having multiple vents and eruptions, and comes down to the question of are they connected not far underground to a single source of lava, or do they all connect separately to the mantle with some larger plume structure deep underground causing them to all erupt at roughly the same time period.

Re:A couple of details that bugs me (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44776483)

I may well have broken the surface of the ocean when it was young 145 million years ago and been eroded back down since then.

Someone call Syfy and Discovery! (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | 1 year,16 days | (#44773741)

And cue up a zillion new disaster movies and documentaries about how this "new" super volcano could destroy the planet. I mean that is the only few things these channels offer these days, disaster movies and docs about the potential for disasters, and shows about logging.

Someone needs to keep Dean Cain employed!

Synopsis: Dean Cain, a retired US geologist is standing on his paddleboard off the coast of Hawaii when a freak wave washes over him and crashes ashore. Scratching his head and thinking that something is not right, he, and some B list bimbo, begins an epic shirtless journey and battle to save the planet by building the world's largest laser guided cork to plug a massive Pacific volcano that nobody knew about. Now if only he could get past the mega huge prehistoric sharks that the volcano keeps erupting at him!!!

© 2014 Asylum Pictures, the official movie studio of Syfy. "Making Movies for only $3.50/min" TM

Re:Someone call Syfy and Discovery! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44776705)

They could call it "Sharkano"
 
(This is PinkyGiggleBrain just in case I want to ask for royalties)

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44775345)

This is old news. Everyone knows that where Mega Shark came from. Or maybe it was Crocosaurus?

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