Discovered a nearly 200 million-year-old volcanic cluster underground

An international team of experts used advanced imaging technology to detect about 100 ancient volcanoes buried in Australia.

Scientists at the University of Adelaide (Australia) and the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) discovered about 100 volcanoes in the Cooper-Eromanga depression , Australia’s largest onshore oil and gas producer, Science Daily on August 13 news. They lie underground and have not been discovered in the 60 years of oil and gas exploration at Cooper-Eromanga.

Discovered a nearly 200 million-year-old volcanic cluster underground
Volcanic activity often takes place at the edges of tectonic plates. (Photo: IFL Science).

The team used advanced subsurface imaging techniques, similar to medical computed tomography, to detect craters, lava flows and magma caves deep below. The newly discovered area is named Warnie Volcanic Region .

The cluster of volcanoes formed and was active during the Jurassic period, about 160-180 million years ago, then was buried under hundreds of meters of rock. Cooper-Eromanga is currently arid land, but during the Jurassic period, it had many craters and fissures spewing ash, hot lava burning into the air, surrounded by many tributaries.

“While much of the volcanic activity on Earth takes place at the edges of tectonic plates or under the ocean, this ancient cluster of volcanoes formed deep in mainland Australia. The new discovery opens up the possibility of many more clusters. Another volcano lies underground in Australia,” said study co-author Simon Holford.

Sedimentary rocks from the Jurassic period contain oil, gas and water that are important to the Australian economy. The discovery of the volcanic cluster at Cooper-Eromanga also shows that volcanic activity in the Jurassic period was more abundant than scientists had previously thought.