OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Has there ever been any volcanic activity in Australia?

Category: 
Antartica, Australia, and New Zealand

 

There has not been any eruptions in Australia in this century. The most recent eruption in Australia was at Mt. Gambier, a shield volcano in the Newer Volcanic Province, Victoria. The Newer Volcanics Province in Victoria Australia is made of four shield volcanoes and associated vents: Red Rock, Mt. Napier, Mt. Schank, and Mt. Gambier. They last erupted between 5850 and 2900 B.C. The eruptions were explosive and some generated lava flows. It is impossible to say if the volcanoes will erupt again. However, there have been rare earthquakes in the area, most recently in 1976. There are numerous volcanic islands north and east of Australia including North Island, New Zealand, the islands of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Britian, and Indonesia. There are numerous interesting volcanic provinces in Australia. There are flood basalts of Cambrian age (about 650 million years old) northeast of Halls Crossing in northern Australia. Volcanism commenced about 70 million years ago at volcanic centers in southeast Queensland and northeast South Wales. Compositions range from basalt to rhyolite and includes shields, plugs, and domes. In north Queensland there are some very long basaltic lava flows. For example, at Undara a flow is 100 miles (160 km) long. You might have a look at Johnson and others (1989).

Sources of Information:
Johnson, R.W., 1976, Volcanism in Australia: Elsevier, New York, 405 p.

Johnson, R.W., Knutson, J., and Taylor, S.R., 1989, Intraplate volcanism in eastern Australia and New Zealand: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 408 p.

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world: Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona, 349 p.