A volcano the size of the British Isles is the biggest ever to be discovered on Earth, scientists have confirmed.

The Tamu Massif volcano is located around 1,000 miles east of Japan and is the largest feature of the Shatsky Rise, an underwater mountain range that formed around 140 million years ago by the eruption of several underwater volcanoes.

It covers an area roughly the size of the state of New Mexico and is nearly as big as the giant volcanoes of Mars, meaning it is one of the largest in the solar system.

Researchers at the University of Houston began studying the volcano two decades ago but it was always unclear whether Tamu Massif was a composite of many eruption points or a single volcano.

The team have now confirmed it is one huge volcano that erupts from a single source near its centre. 

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