Filipino scientist discovers 'largest' caldera within Benham Rise
The undersea Benham Rise, or Benham Plateau, is considered the Philippines' extension as declared by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
NAMRIA graphic
Filipino scientist discovers 'largest' caldera within Benham Rise
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - October 22, 2019 - 10:46am

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino is part of a team of marine geophysicists that discovered the existence of what could be the largest caldera in the world.

New Zealand-based Jenny Anne Barretto along with two other scientists recently published a paper describing a large caldera with a diameter of around 150 kilometers within Benham Rise—an underwater plateau off the waters of Aurora and is considered part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

A caldera is a volcanic feature formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself, making it a large, special form of volcanic crater.

The caldera is named “Apolaki,” after the Filipino mythical god of 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 University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute suggests Apolaki caldera is twice the size of the famous Yellowstone caldera in Wyoming in the United States. 

“For comparison, Earth's largest calderas, like the Yellowstone, is only about 60 km. The size is comparable to shield calderas in Mars (Olympus Mons; 80 km x 65 km) and Venus (Sacajawea; 150 X 105 km),” UP MSI said in a Facebook post. 

The study of Barretto, Ray Wood and John Milson also revealed for the first time the structure of the Benham Rise—also called Philippine Rise—which is described as an “oceanic large igneous province at the western margin of the Philippine Sea.”

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