Special sampling, age dating and analysis of young volcanic landscapes in southeast Australia shine new light on the deep molten story. Our findings have real relevance to disaster management in Australia.

Long fascinated by the amazing volcanic heritage of eastern Australia, I assembled a team of Australian Museum Geoscience researchers and co-workers from New South Wales, Sydney and Tasmanian universities. We planned to unlock Australia’s volcanic future.

We focused our studies on the most evolved (chemically changed) lavas, as keys to predicting potential areas of forthcoming eruption in the youthful terrains of southeastern Australia. For the unaware, volcanoes there erupted only 4,500 and possibly 500 years ago and were seen by the local indigenous peoples.

By modelling deep slilces through the underlying mantle regions at different time periods, we revealed changing thermal upwellings over time.

We found that a new volcano is on the cards for Victoria, but no panic is needed. It probably would be a small discharge and a temporary nuisance, rather than the large eruptions we see in the Pacific ‘Rim of Fire’.

Dr Lin Sutherland
Senior Fellow, Geoscience, Australian Museum Research Institute

More Information:
Sutherland, F.L., Graham, I.T., Hollis, J.D., Meffre, S., Zwingmann, H., Jourdan, F. and Pogson, R.E. 2014. Multiple felsic events within post-10Ma volcanism, Southeast Australia: inputs in appraising proposed magmatic models. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 61(2), 241-267.