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Longest Chain of Volcanoes found in Australia
Sep 17, 2015

The world's longest chain of continental volcanoes created over the past 33 million years has been found in eastern Australia stretching for over 2,000 kms. 

  • The ancient volcanic chain is running from Cape Hillsborough on the central Queensland coast, south-west through central New South Wales to Cosgrove in Victoria. 

  • This volcanic chain was created over the past 33 million years, as Australia moved north-northeast over a mantle plume hotspot which we believe is now located in Bass Strait. 

  • This track named as the Cosgrove hotspot track, is nearly three times as long as the famous Yellowstone hotspot tracks on the North American continent.

  • This kind of volcanic activity is surprising because it occurs away from Tectonic plate boundaries where most volcanoes are found. 

  • The newly discovered volcanic chain is the most westerly of three major volcanic chains running along eastern Australia. 

  • 15 extinct volcanoes examined in eastern Australia that had been known about for quite some time and appeared to follow a generally similar track. 

  • The volcanoes in central Queensland showed an age progression, so they got younger towards the south, and so too did those in New South Wales and Victoria. 

  • Australia is actually the fastest moving continent on Earth, moving towards Indonesia at around seven centimetres per year. 

  • The researchers found the chain of now-extinct volcanoes in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria had all passed over the same fixed mantle plume hotspot as the Australian continental plate tracked north-northeast. 

  • These volcanoes are surface manifestations of the same mantle plume. 

  • The two groups of volcanoes were geochemically very distinct from each other and were separated by a gap of 700 kilometres, so no-one ever put these two volcanic chains together. 

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