Scientists Discover 'Jurassic World Of Volcanoes' In Central Australia

Recently, around 100 previously undiscovered ancient volcanoes have been located by a group of researchers and subsurface explorers in the Cooper-Eromanga Basins of Central Australia.

Described as some sort of ‘Jurassic world,’ the volcanoes were found buried deep beneath the basin and had been undisturbed despite over 60 years of exploration and digging in the area.

Jurassic Volcanoes

Per the release, the researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found the volcanoes in the Cooper-Eromanga basins, located in the north-eastern corner of South Australia and south-western corner of Queensland . Strangely enough, the location is Australia’s largest onshore oil and gas producing region but more than half of a century of petroleum exploration has coincidentally missed the 100 volcanoes located beneath the basin.

To find the volcanoes however, the researchers employed the use of advanced subsurface imaging techniques. Almost similar to the principle behind medical CT scanning, the technique pulled up images of the numerous volcanic craters and magma flows as well as the magma chambers where they came from. As a result, the researchers then dubbed the region the Warnie Volcanic Province.

"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," co-author and  Associate Professor Simon Holford, from the University of Adelaide's Australian School of Petroleum, said.

"Its discovery raises the prospect that more undiscovered volcanic worlds reside beneath the poorly explored surface of Australia."

Right now, the Cooper-Eromanga basins is relatively dry and barren. However, the researchers state that it must have been surrounded by river channels, which flowed into networks during prehistoric times, that probably was filled with both craters and openings where hot ash flowed.

As part of the Natural Environment Research Council Center for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas, the research was led by Jonathon Hardman, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen.

Per the research, the discovery suggests that there’s a lot more volcanic activity in the region than what is previously known.

volcano-1081840_960_720 Scientists observing a volcano crater. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)