Mauna Loa may not be the biggest volcano in the world after all ...

Mauna Loa may not be the biggest volcano in the world after all ...
Puhahonu volcano may be larger than originally thought. (Source: NOAA/UH Researchers)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mauna Loa could lose its title as the largest volcano in the world.

Researchers from UH Manoa recently found that The Gardner Pinnacles, also known by its Hawaiian name Pūhāhonu, is nearly twice the size of Mauna Loa.

The size difference is clearly noticeable in a side-by-side comparison to Hawaii Island.

Puhahonu volcano may be larger than originally thought.
Puhahonu volcano may be larger than originally thought. (Source: NOAA/UH Researchers)

Pūhāhonu is part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It’s name is a majestic reference to a turtle rising to take a breath.

It’s located about 600 miles northwest of Oahu.

“It has been proposed that hotspots that produce volcano chains like Hawaii undergo progressive cooling over 1-2 million years and then die,” researcher and retired SOEST professor Michael Garcia said.

“However, we have learned from this study that hotspots can undergo pulses of melt production. A small pulse created the Midway cluster of now extinct volcanoes and another, much bigger one created Pūhāhonu. This will rewrite the textbooks on how mantle plumes work,” he added.

Pūhāhonu is estimated to be about twice the size of Mauna Loa, which is a massive shield volcano formed by countless years of lava flows.

When measured from the base to the top, Mauna Loa measures more 56,000 feet.

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