Scientists discover possibly world's largest caldera that was formed 40 million years ago

Bigger than Lake Taupo, Apolaki caldera formed 40 million years ago and scientists are puzzled to guess what special conditions caused its formation

Representational picture

Scientists from GNS Science in New Zealand discovered a mega-volcano off the Philippines coast that has caldera three times as big Lake Taupo. The scientists believe that it could be the world's largest known caldera, which was named Apolaki that means "giant lord" in Filippino. Jenny Barretto and Ray Wood from GNS Science, and John Milsom from Gladestry Associates, UK made this remarkable discovery while studying the Philippines' continental shelf.

As per the GNS Science this Apolaki is so large that there is no comparison available on earth. To compare the newly discovered caldera, which is actually a large volcanic crater, especially formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the mouth of a volcano, the Kiwi scientists "had to draw on comparisons with calderas from Venus and Mars."

It should be mentioned that the group of scientists started studying the Philippine continental shelf in 2008. But in 2015 they turned their focus to the study of the Benham Rise, which is also known as Philippine Rise, that is a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau located near Aurora that is larger than Luzon, the Philippines' biggest island.

After the findings published in the journal Marine Geology, Barretto said, "We are delighted that our findings have been published as no other caldera of this size has been discovered before." The scientists also discussed their next step and said that the focus will be "to confirm that this is indeed a volcanic caldera through rock sampling and geophysical studies."

It should be noted that after the discovery of the possibly largest caldera scientists raised a valid question about what special conditions caused caldera to form almost 40-million years ago. The scientists are currently looking for an answer. Meanwhile, if further research confirms that Apolaki is nothing but a volcanic caldera, it will officially become the largest known caldera on Earth.

However, the list of already known and famous calderas of the world includes La Garita Caldera, Lake Toba, Cerro Guacha, Yellowstone Caldera, Lake Taupo, Cerro Galán Island, Park Caldera, Vilama, La Pacana and Pastos Grandes.