Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Australian volcano eruptions overdue, new study confirms

Date:
July 5, 2011
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Latest research into the age of volcanos in parts of Australia has confirmed that certain regions are overdue for an eruption, potentially affecting thousands of local residents.

Latest research into the age of volcanos in Western Victoria and South Australia has confirmed that the regions are overdue for an eruption, potentially affecting thousands of local residents.

Using the latest dating techniques, scientists from the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences and the Melbourne School of Engineering have calculated the ages of the small volcanoes in the regions and established the recurrence rate for eruptions as 2,000 years.

With the last volcano eruption at Mt Gambier occurring over 5,000 years ago, scientists say the areas are overdue.

The research will be presented July 5 by Professor Bernie Joyce of the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences at the XXV International Congress of Geodesy and Geophysics, in Melbourne.

"Although the volcanos in the region don't erupt on a regular sequence, the likelihood of an eruption is high given the average gap in the past has been 2,000 years," Professor Joyce said.

"These are small eruptions and very localised but depending on the type of eruption, they could cause devastation to thousands of people," he said.

The regions of Western Victoria and adjacent south-eastern South Australia demonstrate a history of activity by young monogenetic (single short-lived activity) volcanoes. Similar young monogenetic provinces are found in northeast Queensland.

Professor Joyce and his colleagues from the University's School of Earth Sciences have spent years cataloguing the hundreds of small volcanic cones, lava flows and craters in the regions. The distribution of activity including lava flows and ash deposits has been mapped in detail.

The latest findings are due to more recent studies using a range of state of the art dating techniques, which have provided more information on the ages of the individual volcanoes, providing information about the occurrence rates.

Professor Joyce said there are several kinds of eruptions which can cause damage and harm to local communities.

"Among the hazards which may need to be prepared for in this closely-settled region are the localised effects of cone building leading to lava flows which run downhill towards the coast.'

"The long lasting and often extensive lava flows can travel for tens of kilometres, and so would be hazardous to modern infrastructure such as bridges, roads and railways, powerlines and pipelines, as well as being a major fire hazard on the dry grassland plains of summer in Western Victoria."

"In some cases rising magma can meet ground water and cause steam explosions. This can form wide craters and produce a lot of ash."

"Depending on where the eruption occurs, ash can cause huge damage to people who are down wind, clogging up streams, road and rail transport and perhaps affecting local air travel," he said.

The cause of the volcanic activity may be the movement of the Australian tectonic plate, which is moving north.

"The plate is hitting up against PNG, lifting the southern margin upwards. This allows magma to move upwards towards the surface, " Professor Joyce said.

Professor Joyce said communities need to have some knowledge of what to do after an eruption. "So far we have no action plans in place if eruptions occur. If they happen close to Melbourne or Geelong it could be hugely devastating. It is more likely however, that eruptions would occur further west, closer to areas such as Colac, Port Fairy, Portland and Mt Gambier."

"We need to note the concerns of other cities such as Auckland in New Zealand which sits on a similar young volcanic region, with a local government which has plans in place to respond if eruptions occur," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Australian volcano eruptions overdue, new study confirms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705104205.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2011, July 5). Australian volcano eruptions overdue, new study confirms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705104205.htm
University of Melbourne. "Australian volcano eruptions overdue, new study confirms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705104205.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) — In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned world leaders at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday that the globe's climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A day after over 100,000 people marched against climate change, more than 1,000 activists blocked parts of Manhattan's financial district. Over 100 people, including a person wearing a white polar bear suit, were arrested Monday night. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins