New Research Indicates the Origin of Tamu Massif

Tamu Massif is a different breed of volcanic mountains according to a new study while shedding light on the origin of the massive volcano. The new findings published in Nature Geoscience this week reported that Tamu Massif is a different breed of volcanic mountains contradicting the earlier assumption that it is the largest single volcano documented on earth.

William Sager, the senior author of the study and a geophysicist at the University of Houston stated that discovery led the researchers to conclude that Tamu Massif is formed by mid-ocean ridge ‘spreading’ rather than as a shield volcano. The research paper published in 2013 by the current research team concluded Tamu Massif as the enormous shield volcano. He said that the findings were significant because it demonstrates that Tamu Massif and other oceanic plateaus are formed by a different process than previously thought.

Researchers from Texas, China and Japan were determined to find the origin of the massive Tamu Massif volcano which locates about 1,000 miles east of Japan. The research team analyzed the magnetic field data over the volcanic mountain after finding that magnetic anomalies resemble those formed at mid-ocean ridge plate boundaries. Mid-ocean ridges, which are large volcanoes themselves, record distinctive linear magnetic anomalies while they form new crust.

The study used the magnetic anomaly map over Tamu Massif with the magnetic field readings collected over the years. And the data were collected by the research team by using the Schmidt Ocean Institute Ship Falkor. It was found from the map that the linear magnetic anomalies blend into linear anomalies over the mountains itself.

Linear magnetic anomalies had previously been found around Tamu Massif, but the research team could not ensure that it is formed within the mountains itself. Mid-ocean ridge system is the largest volcano in the world which stretches about 65,000 kilometers around the world.