The Largest Volcano In The World

Mauna Loa and Ojos del Salado, respectively the world's largest volcano and the world's highest volcano above sea level, are the champions in the second installment of the "Earth Records" series. Discover with us the impressive dimensions of these two giants and a series of curiosities and data concerning them.

The Largest Volcano In The World

When we talk about the largest volcano in the world, we must first of all clarify what is meant by "large" and in the second episode of the series The Records of the Earth we went to discover, in particular, the most voluminous and the highest above sea level. In both cases we are referring to individual volcanoes that are either active or quiescent ("sleeping"). In the case of the largest volcano in the world by volume , one must fly to the Pacific Ocean, to the island of Hawaii (in the archipelago of the same name), where the imposing Mauna Loa rises . In the case of the highest volcano in the world, however, we must move to the Andes cordillera, on the border between Argentina and Chile, where the, about 6880 m high .

Let's see in brief what we are talking about and let's start from the most voluminous volcano in the world.

What is the largest volcano in the world?

Mauna Loa is easily identifiable: its emerged part constitutes, in fact, half of the surface of the island of Hawaii . However, most of its bulk is underwater. Consider that above sea level the volcano reaches about 4170 m, but, below, the volcanic edifice accumulates about another 5000 up to the ocean floor and another 8000 even further below. Oh yes, you got it right: its volume - estimated at around 70,000/80,000 km3 of rock and other materials - and the consequent gigantic weight have meant that over time the volcano has deformed the seabed and has largely sunk into it. From base to top, therefore, it is about 17,000 m high .

Mauna Loa is technically a shield volcano and was born at a hotspot. Contrary to what one might think, being "big" doesn't make him particularly dangerous. Given its typology, in fact, it is relatively quiet and has a low explosive index . The last eruption took place in 1984 and others are almost certainly expected in the future, but everything remains confined to the island of Hawaii and is constantly monitored.

As for the highest volcano in the world above sea level , let's take a leap to the central part of the Andes, on the border between Chile and Argentina, where the Ojos del Salado rises , with an altitude of around 6880m . It has not erupted for at least a thousand years, but it is very probable that it will reawaken in the near or distant future.
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