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Pinay scientist discovers 'largest caldera' Apolaki in Benham Rise

A Filipina marine geophysicist has discovered the existence of what could be the world's largest caldera within Benham Rise.

New Zealand-based scientist Jenny Anne Barretto, an alumnus of the University of the Philippines, recently published a research paper titled "Benham Rise unveiled: Morphology and structure of an Eocene large igneous province in the West Philippine Basin," detailing the morphology and formation of the underwater feature.

Benham Rise is described in the paper as "a large igneous province located in the West Philippine Basin." A caldera is a large volcanic crater created by a major eruption.

Named the Apolaki Caldera, Barretto's discovery has a diameter of about 150 kilometers, about 90 kilometers larger than Yellowstone, one of the earth's largest calderas.



The size is comparable to shield calderas such as Olympus Mons on Mars (80 km x 65 km) and Sacajawea on Venus (150 km x 105 km).

The name Apolaki, meaning "giant lord," comes from the Filipino mythical god of the sun and war.

"Features like a breached rim, intra-caldera benches, and a resurgent dome indicate a multi-phase volcanic history consisting of both quiet and explosive eruptions," the paper's abstract read.

The research paper became available online on Sunday as part of  "Marine Geology," an international journal of Marine Geology, Geochemistry and Geophysics. —Ma. Angelica Garcia/JST, GMA News