Field of 100 ‘Jurassic world’ underground volcanoes is discovered in Australia

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Volcanic craters, lava flows and magma chambers in the Cooper-Eromanga basins (pictured) have been discovered using advanced technology


Field of 100 ‘Jurassic world’ underground volcanoes deep below the Earth’s surface is discovered in the Australian Outback – 180 million years after they first developed

  • Volcanic craters, lava flows and magma chambers uncovered with technology
  • Australian scientists discovered the volcanoes at the Cooper-Eromagna Basins
  • The volcanoes developed in the Jurassic period about 180 million years ago 

A ‘Jurassic world’ of about 100 subterranean volcanoes has been discovered in central Australia. 

An international team, including scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of Aberdeen, have uncovered the features using advanced subsurface imaging technology to identify volcanic craters, lava flows and magma chambers in the Cooper-Eromanga basins.

The volcanoes developed in the Jurassic period, between 180 and 160 million years ago, and have been subsequently buried beneath hundreds of metres of sedimentary rocks.

Volcanic craters, lava flows and magma chambers in the Cooper-Eromanga basins (pictured) have been discovered using advanced technology 

The find of an ancient volcanic field in the outback has been dubbed Warnie in homage to the nation's famed spin bowler, Shane Warne. Pictured, graphical representation of how 'Warnie' was formed

The find of an ancient volcanic field in the outback has been dubbed Warnie in homage to the nation’s famed spin bowler, Shane Warne. Pictured, graphical representation of how ‘Warnie’ was formed 

WHAT IS ‘WARNIE’? 

 A ‘Jurassic world’ of around 100 subterranean volcanoes has been discovered in central Australia’s outback.

The find has been dubbed ‘Warnie’ in homage to the nation’s famed spin bowler, Shane Warne. 

The extinct volcanoes are now hidden under hundreds of feet of sediment. 

During the Jurassic era, craters and fissures would have spewed hot ash and lava into the air while surrounded by river channels that evolved into large lakes and coal-swamps. 

The Cooper-Eromanga Basins are now a dry and barren landscape but in Jurassic times would have been a landscape of craters and fissures, spewing hot ash and lava into the air, and surrounded by networks of river channels, evolving into large lakes and coal-swamps.

‘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,’ associate professor Simon Holford said.

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

The research also suggests more volcanic activity in Australia during the Jurassic period than previously supposed and could change the understanding of the processes that operated in the earth’s past. 

Published in the journal Gondwana Research, the scientists called the volcanic region the Warnie Volcanic Province, with a nod to Australian cricket legend Shane Warne. 

‘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,’ explained Associate Professor Holford.

‘Inspired by the cricket, we thought Warnie a good name for this once fiery region.’

The volcanoes developed in the Jurassic period, between 180 and 160 million years ago, and have been subsequently buried beneath hundreds of metres of sedimentary rocks  (pictured: Cooper-Eromanga basins )

The volcanoes developed in the Jurassic period, between 180 and 160 million years ago, and have been subsequently buried beneath hundreds of metres of sedimentary rocks  (pictured: Cooper-Eromanga basins )

The Cooper-Eromanga Basins are now a dry and barren landscape but in Jurassic times would have been a landscape of craters and fissures, spewing hot ash and lava into the air (stock image)

The Cooper-Eromanga Basins are now a dry and barren landscape but in Jurassic times would have been a landscape of craters and fissures, spewing hot ash and lava into the air (stock image)

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