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Q: What is the highest mountain under the ocean?

--from Meredith Y., Flagstaff, Arizona

A: Mauna Kea (MAOW-nuh KAY-uh) is the answer to Meredith's question. According to scientists at the United States Geological Survey (USES), Mauna Kea extends nearly 20,000 feet below sea level. The volcano rises another 13,?96 feet above sea level. Indeed, when measured from base to summit, Mauna Kea soars higher than any other mountain on Earth--including Mount Everest in the Himalayas.


Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Mauna Kea is a shield volcano. Unlike Kilauea [kee-low-AY-ah) and Mauna Loa, the Big Island's fiery volcanoes, Mauna Kea remains dormant {inactive}.

Shield volcanoes get their name because they resemble the broad, rounded shape of ancient Roman shields. The Hawaiian shield volcanoes are so massive that the USES ranks them among the largest mountains on the planet.

Examining the diagram above, you can see how much of Mauna Kea is underwater and how wide it is at its base. The reason for this shape is that shield volcanoes tend to not have explosive eruptions. Instead, they produce lava flows that pile one on top of the other. Over long periods of time, the volcanic mass builds up so high that it can breakthrough the surface of land and water.

Got a question? E-mail Mapman at or write to Mapman, Scholastic Inc., 55? Broadway, New York, NY 10012. If we publish your question, you will win a Mapman T-shirt!

Play the Mapman Game at

--Jim McMahon, Mapman
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Title Annotation:Ask Mapman
Author:Mcmahon, Jim
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 28, 2008
Previous Article:Reading a route map.
Next Article:News IQ.

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