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Creation 36(3):51, July 2014

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The Tamu Massif, the largest volcano on Earth, erupted catastrophically


© William Sager10473-tamu-massif

In September 2013, a team of scientists led by William Sager of Texas A&M University reported finding the largest single volcano on earth.1 It is under the ocean and is now inactive.

Dubbed ‘The Tamu Massif’, it is located about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of Japan, and is the largest feature of an underwater mountain range called Shatsky Rise.

Reports noted the unusual shape of the huge lava deposit.2 It’s low and broad, a shield volcano. Most other volcanoes that erupt under the ocean are small with steep sides. The seafloor is dotted with thousands of such steep-sided underwater volcanoes, or seamounts.

The broad, flat shape means that the molten lava erupted at such an enormous rate that it travelled rapidly across the ocean floor for a long distance while still molten. When it was eventually cooled by the seawater, it began to solidify and become gummy.

This eruption was one of many similar eruptions all over the planet around the time when geologists say that the continents were breaking up. The volume of lava erupted was enormous, and the deposits are called Large Igneous Provinces or LIPs for short.3

The researchers recognize that the eruption was catastrophic. Sager said:

“The bottom line is that we think that Tamu Massif was built in a short (geologically speaking) time of one to several million years and it has been extinct since.”2

But, for it to have taken several million years to form would mean the lava would have flowed out slowly, and it would not have formed a shield volcano. There was another feature about the volcano that puzzled the researchers. Sager again:

“One interesting angle is that there were lots of oceanic plateaus (that) erupted during the Cretaceous Period (145–65 million years ago) but we don’t see them since. Scientists would like to know why.”2

Even while reporting the eruption as catastrophic, they still ‘date’ it using the assumption that everything in the past happened slowly and gradually.

But a catastrophic eruption happens quickly. When we relate this to the catastrophe of Noah’s Flood, we can reinterpret the timing and we discover that the volcano would have erupted about halfway through the year-long Flood,4 which occurred about 4,500 years ago. And it would have taken just days and weeks, not several million years, otherwise it would have solidified before it could have spread so far. Creation geologists conclude that most rocks now exposed on earth were deposited during the Flood. It was enormous and catastrophic, meaning everything happened quickly.

So, there is a simple reason why these eruptions took place in only one period of earth history, and we don’t see them since. The volcanos erupted mid-way through the Flood when the ocean basins began to lower and the floodwaters began to recede from covering the continents. The Flood happened once in earth history and it won’t happen again. Genesis 9:11 records God saying:

“I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

References and notes

  1. Walker, T., Perth, Western Australia—Recessive Stage of Flood began in the mid-Cretaceous and eroded kilometres of sediment from continent, Journal of Creation 28(1):84–90, 2014. Return to text.
  2. Scientists confirm existence of largest single volcano on earth, 5 Sept 2013; sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905142817.htm. Tamu, the volcano’s name, comes from the initials of Sager’s university. Return to text.
  3. Monster volcano ‘Tamu Massif’ found on Pacific floor, 6 Sept 2013, news.com.au/travel/world-travel/monster-volcano-tamu-massif-found-on-pacific-floor/story-e6frfqai-1226712928603. Return to text.
  4. Walker, T., Volcanoes shaped our planet: Fiery catastrophe greater in the past, Creation 34(2):20–23, 2012; creation.com/volcanoes. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Duncan banks D.
I love how another big factor such as this points to creation and the Flood!
Nichola W.
I'm very familiar with the Glasshouse Mts; I have driven past them regularly all my life. As children, we were taught that Australia is the oldest continent and so our mountains were eroded away. I imagined that was the case with the Glasshouse Mts, not realising that they had formed within thick sandstone layers that have since been eroded away, leaving the volcanic plug. This is attested to by abundant amounts of fine white sand and sandstone blocks just below the summits.
Most geological formations make sense when you factor in The flood of Noah's time.
Dan M.
"But, for it to have taken several million years to form would mean the lava would have flowed out slowly, and it would not have formed a shield volcano". This logical conclusion is as plain as the nose on your face! Lava, (as stated) does not travel far underwater because water absorbs and can hold large amounts of heat energy and thus solidifies the lava quickly, (unlike the atmosphere). How those steeped in evolutionary religion can not see this paradox is beyond me? Except for the Mt. Saint Helens eruption, we don't see any of the existing geographic formations forming in modern times. Something very catastrophic and different from the present geologic processes happened in the past that we don't see happening today. Yet they cling to illogical beliefs, (Huttonian Uniformitarianism) that don't explain anything well. But when you throw off the evolutionary brainwashing and pick up a Bible, It all falls into place and makes perfect sense of what we see in retrospect. Not wanting something to be true, (bible) won't change it or withhold God's judgment.
Thanks, Dr. Walker for pointing out the logical fallacy.
Peter G.
Thankyou for the great article. Can you clarify why you expect the eruption happened as the waters were receding rather than earlier - is it because the lava flow is more symmetrical and would have been chaotic if it had been earlier in the deluge..
Tas Walker
Reports said it occurred "around the time when geologists say that the continents were breaking up". The breaking up is linked to the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Also that seems to be tied to the period when the ocean basins were sinking, and that in turn caused the waters to flow off the continents into the oceans. The massif also sits on top of the oceanic crust, which would have been late in the break-up, which indicates late Flood as the waters were receding. As you suggest, the good condition of the shield also points to late Flood.
Kathryn N.
When were the Glass House Mountains in Queensland, Australia active?
Tas Walker
Late in the Flood. The land around them was eroded by the receding waters of Noah's Flood. See:

Glass House Mountains

Glass House Sign

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