One of Hawaii’s six active volcanoes, Mauna Loa, erupted Monday (November 28) for the first time in nearly 40 years. With its 83,000 cubic km of rock, it is, according to the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS), the largest volcano in the world.
If it culminates at 4,169 meters above sea level, its area extends to 13 km below the ocean floor, for a total size of 17,000 meters. It has erupted 33 times since 1843. However, other volcanoes compete with it in size or area.
VIDEO: Orange glow and ash spew from the world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, in Hawaii. Pressure has been building at Mauna Loa for years, according to the United States Geological Survey, which reported the eruption could be seen from 72 kilometers away. pic.twitter.com/rPXKErW39m
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) November 29, 2022
► The Puhahonu, a Hawaiian competitor
According to a recent study, published in 2020 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Puhahonu, another volcano in the Hawaiian archipelago, would far surpass Mauna Loa. The mass of this volcanic mountain, whose name means “turtle rising to the surface to breathe”, would amount to 150,000 cubic kilometers of rock, two thirds of which are under the sea.
According to the review Sciencethis volcano is so heavy that the earth’s crust has been sinking a few hundred meters under its weight for millions of years.
► The Tamu massif, a giant volcano
Another volcano, however, could be considered larger than Mauna Loa and Puhanonu. This is the Tamu massif, located 1,600 km east of Japan, almost entirely under the Pacific Ocean, with an area of 2.5 million cubic kilometers.
It is not always recognized as the largest volcano in the world because researchers have long believed that it was several volcanic mountains, before realizing, after decades of research, that it was a single volcano. In height, however, it only rises to 4,000 meters above sea level.
► Ojos del Salado, the best
The highest volcano is located on the border between Argentina and Chile, in the Andes, culminating at 6,893 meters above sea level and called Ojos del Salado. It has not shown any sign of activity since 1993, the last massive eruption being over a thousand years ago.
► Kilimanjaro, dormant volcano
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which rises 5,895 meters above sea level, is also one of the most massive volcanoes, covering 4,800 cubic km of rock. The volcanic complex is however not active and considered a dormant volcano, that is to say a volcano that has not caused an eruption for more than 500 years.
► On Mars, a volcano 100 times bigger than Mauna Loa
However, these volcanoes are far from the record for the most massive volcanic mountain in the solar system, reached by Mons Olympus on Mars, a hundred times larger than Mauna Loa. With its 624 km in diameter and 25 km high, it could shelter the entire mountain range of the Hawaiian Islands.