The world’s longest chain of volcanoes has been discovered in Eastern Australia. These continental volcanoes extend to a length of more than 1,200 miles. The Journal Nature has reported about this ancient chain which according to the report stretches from Cape Hillsborough on Central Queensland Coast to Cosgrove in Victoria, running southwest through central New South Wales.
According to Dr. Rhodri Davies, the study’s lead author the volcanic chain was formed over the last 33 million years when Australia moved North- Northeast over a plume hotspot. This hotspot is now believed to be located in the Bass Strait.
The track has been named Cosgrove hotspot track after an extinct Victorian volcano chain. The Cosgrove stretches to a length three times that of Yellowstone hotspot tracks on North America continent.
This kind of volcanic activity is being considered a wonder aspect in the nature of volcanoes because it happens only at the points away from tectonic plate boundaries. These hotspots are created above the mantle plumes which are narrow outbursts of hot rocks and lie about 1800 miles below the surface.
When a tectonic plate moves over the hotspot, a volcano chain is created. There are three major volcano chains running along Eastern Australia, and the recently identified one is the most westerly of all.
The authors of Journal Nature had examined 15 extinct volcanoes in Eastern Australia. These volcanoes were known for a long time and seemed to follow a similar track.
The researchers found out that there were similarities in age progression of these volcanoes. According to Davies, the volcanoes of Central Queensland got younger towards the south which is similar to the volcanoes in New South Wales and Victoria.
For this study, the tectonic plate movement of Australia was also observed by the researches. Based on the observation of tectonic movement, Davies disclosed that Australia is moving towards Indonesia at around 7 cm per year, and this makes it the fastest moving continent on Earth.
The volcanoes in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria had passed over the same plume hotspot as the Australian continental plate tracked North East. The former are all extinct volcanoes.
Interestingly, these volcanoes are surface expression or outward manifestation of the same core i.e. the same mantle plume. Even though the two groups of volcanoes exhibit similarities and are the manifestation of the same plume, still the two chains cannot be put together because the geochemical nature of both varies, and both are at a distance of 700 kilometers.