Scientists have just found the world’s longest chain of volcanoes in Australia, hiding in plain sight. Geologists have long known of small, separate chains of volcanic activity on the island continent. However, new research reveals a hidden hotspot once churned beneath regions with no signs of surface volcanism, connecting these separate strings of volcanoes into one megachain. That 1,240-mile-long (2,000 kilometers) chain of fire spanned most of eastern Australia, from Hillsborough in the north, where rain forest meets the Great Barrier Reef, to the island of Tasmania in the south.
This type of volcanic chain is known as a hotspot track, and they’re pretty unusual as they don’t form over a tectonic plate boundary, where most volcanoes are found. Instead they form over hotspots, caused by magma plumes almost 3,000 km below the Earth’s surface.
In the case of the newly discovered Cosgrove hotspot track, it’s believed that the hotspot that formed the volcanoes is now located under the sea a little to the northwest of Tasmania, which means that there’s no risk of them erupting anymore.
Test Your Knowledge
The only confirmed active volcano in South Asia is _____________.
What is meant by Epicenter?