World's longest continental volcanic chain in Australia
Sydney, Sept 15: The world's longest chain of continental volcanoes has been discovered stretching for over 2,000 km along eastern Australia, a study showed on Tuesday.
The ancient volcanic chain runs 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," said the study's lead author, Rhodri Davies of the Australian National University.
"This track, which we've named the Cosgrove hotspot track (after an extinct Victorian volcano in the chain), is nearly three times as long as the famous Yellowstone hotspot tracks on the North American continent."
These hotspots are thought to form above mantle plumes, narrow upwellings of hot rock that originate at Earth's core-mantle boundary almost 3,000 km below the surface.
A volcano chain is created as the tectonic plate moves over the hotspot.
The newly identified volcanic chain is the most westerly of three major volcanic chains running along eastern Australia.