A previously unknown ‘Jurassic World’ of 100 ancient volcanoes has been discovered buried deep beneath the surface of Australia.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Aberdeen found evidence of the volcanoes within the Cooper-Eromanga Basins of central Australia.
The network of volcanic craters and lava flows, and the deeper magma chambers has been named the ‘Warnie Volcanic Province’ in honour of Australian cricketer Shane Warne.
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The volcanoes developed in the Jurassic period, between 180 and 160 million years ago, but have been buried under layers of sediment.
Researchers found them using subsurface imaging techniques, analogous to medical CT scanning, to identify the craters and magma chambers.
Associate Professor Simon Holford, from the University of Adelaid said, ‘While the majority of Earth’s volcanic activity occurs at the boundaries of tectonic plates, or under the Earth’s oceans, this ancient Jurassic world developed deep within the interior of the Australian continent.
‘Its discovery raises the prospect that more undiscovered volcanic worlds reside beneath the poorly explored surface of Australia.’
‘We wrote much of the paper during a visit to Adelaide by the Aberdeen researchers, when a fair chunk was discussed and written at Adelaide Oval during an England vs Cricket Australia XI match in November 2017. Inspired by the cricket, we thought Warnie a good name for this once fiery region.’