World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Scientists discover possiby the world’s largest caldera

8 November 2019
Scientists discover what might be the world’s largest known caldera


The discovery of a mega-volcano off the Philippines coast has scientists reaching for inter-planetary comparisons – as they study what could be the world’s largest caldera.

Jenny Barretto and Ray Wood from GNS Science, and John Milsom from Gladestry Associates (UK) made the remarkable discovery while conducting a study on the Philippines’ continental shelf.

A caldera is a large volcanic depression resulting from the collapse of a volcano due to emptying of its magma chamber following eruptions or magma withdrawal.

In a paper published in the journal Marine Geology, the team explains how they identified the Apolaki caldera by studying the bathymetry, or topography of the seafloor.

Ms Barretto says that the group began studying the Philippine continental shelf in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2015 that they began looking at the features of the Benham Rise in more detail.

They noted the morphology was consistent with other volcanic calderas, but about 150 kilometres wide – more than three times the diameter of Lake Taupo.

The name Apolaki, chosen by Ms Barretto, literally translates to ‘giant lord’ in Filipino - indicating the large size of the caldera.

Apolaki is so large that no comparison is available on Earth - during the review process, scientists had to draw on comparisons with calderas from Venus and Mars.

The discovery of such a large caldera raises questions about volcanism in the Benham Rise around 48-41 million years ago and what special conditions were present for the Apolaki caldera to form.

If the team’s conclusions are confirmed by further research, it will officially become the largest known caldera on Earth.

"We are excited about the discovery of the submarine Apolaki caldera, and the implications this has for understanding large-scale volcanic processes," Ms Barretto says.

“The next step is for us to confirm that this is indeed a volcanic caldera through rock sampling and geophysical studies.

“We are delighted that our findings have been published as no other caldera of this size has been discovered before.”

With more than 80% of the world’s ocean floor currently unmapped, the study is a valuable contribution towards a world-wide push to add to existing bathymetry that ultimately may lead to further unique discoveries like Apolaki.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Chilling The Warm Fuzzies About The US/China Trade Deal

Hold the champagne, folks. This week’s China/US deal is more about a change in tone between the world’s two biggest economies – thank goodness they’re not slapping more tariffs on each other! - than a landmark change in substance. The high ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Iran Aftermath

So, evidently, you can get away with murder. It looks as though a further escalation in the ongoing war between Iran and the US has been avoided – mainly thanks to Iran NOT responding in kind to the recklessly unhinged behaviour by the United States. ... More>>

ALSO:

COP25 Ends: World Screams Out For Action But Climate Summit Whispers

“The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit had responded with a whisper. The poorest nations are in a sprint for survival yet many governments have barely moved from the starting blocks. Instead of committing to more ambitious cuts in emissions, countries have argued over technicalities." More>>

ALSO:

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

ALSO: