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The active volcanoes in AUSTRALIA that experts say could erupt at any time


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There are hundreds of volcanoes scattered across Australia – and experts can’t agree on when they will next erupt. 

Most people are unaware Australia is home to one of the longest chains of continental volcanoes in the world – the Newer Volcanics Province.

The Newer Volcanics Province consists of over 400 volcanoes stretching 23,000 square kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria, to Mount Gambier in South Australia.  

The Blue Lake and Mount Schank at Mount Gambier are the most active in Australia and last erupted about 5,000 years ago.

While some volcanologists predict the next eruption will come in another 5,000 years, they say the country is under prepared for potential disaster. 

The revelation comes after White Island, also known as Whakaari, erupted in New Zealand on Monday when 47 tourists were on or around the volcano crater

Associate Professor of Volcanology and Geochemistry at Macquarie University Heather Handley told the ABC there is ‘a lot more work’ Australia should be doing to prepare. 

The volcanic province from Melbourne to SA typically experiences an eruption about every 10,000 – 12,000 years.

But Dr Handley suggested we may not be waiting another 7,000 years: ‘We just don’t know – it could be in a few weeks, it could be a month, it could be a few years, it could be thousands of years.’

Volcanic risk expert Christina Magill told the publication there was a possibility of an eruption, but it was low risk. 

‘It is something that should be considered in the emergency management plan for the areas around the volcanic province, because it’s still a possibility,’ she said. 

‘I think that’s a hazard that we’re not aware of as much here in Australia.’ 

A string of volcanoes sitting underneath and around Melbourne could erupt at any moment and send lava flowing through the city's streets

A string of volcanoes sitting underneath and around Melbourne could erupt at any moment and send lava flowing through the city’s streets

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Derek Wyman told Daily Mail Australia he did not believe the threat of eruption would appear out of nowhere.  

‘There’s not much active on the Australian mainland,’ he said on Sunday.

‘I don’t think there is any risk, coming out of the blue.’

Professor Wyman added there were some in Australia that were not ‘that old by volcano standards’.  

‘Some of them are 5,000, 6,000 years old… you can have a volcano come to life 30,000 years later perhaps,’ he said.  

‘But you get plenty of warning if the system is actually going to react so there is no chance us being taken by surprise, I don’t think, for that kind of event here.’ 

The Newer Volcanics Province consists of over 400 volcanoes stretching 23,000 square kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria, to Mount Gambier (pictured) in South Australia

The Newer Volcanics Province consists of over 400 volcanoes stretching 23,000 square kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria, to Mount Gambier (pictured) in South Australia

The Blue Lake and Mount Schank (pictured) at Mount Gambier are the most active in Australia and last erupted about 5,000 years ago

The Blue Lake and Mount Schank (pictured) at Mount Gambier are the most active in Australia and last erupted about 5,000 years ago

Australian National University professor Richard Arculus previously told Daily Mail Australia an eruption could hit Melbourne at any moment. 

‘In terms of Melbourne and Auckland, there’s every chance another volcano could blow,’ he said.

‘You could see lava flowing down Bourke Street.’ 

He cited research from Monash University which pointed to a volcanic field existing in Melbourne.

The research analysed an ‘intra-plate basaltic volcanic field’ in south-eastern Australia.

Mr Arculus said a similar field exists in Auckland, a city built on and near 52 volcanoes.

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Derek Wyman told Daily Mail Australia he did not believe the threat of eruption would appear out of nowhere. 'There's not much active on the Australian mainland,' he said. 'I don't think there is any risk, coming out of the blue.' (stock image)

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Derek Wyman told Daily Mail Australia he did not believe the threat of eruption would appear out of nowhere. ‘There’s not much active on the Australian mainland,’ he said. ‘I don’t think there is any risk, coming out of the blue.’ (stock image)

Australian National University professor Richard Arculus previously told Daily Mail Australia an eruption could hit Melbourne at any moment. 'You could see lava flowing down Bourke Street,' he said

Australian National University professor Richard Arculus previously told Daily Mail Australia an eruption could hit Melbourne at any moment. ‘You could see lava flowing down Bourke Street,’ he said

Melbourne is at the eastern end of the Newer Volcanics Province. It has not experienced an eruption in over one-million years.  

Similarly, Tasmanian volcanologist Doctor Rebecca Carey said Melbourne locals should prepare for potential disaster.

‘From what we can establish now, we’re in a long phase of dormancy and that there is the possibility of an eruption in this province,’ Dr Carey told 60 Minutes last year.

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Dietmar Muller explained there are only two Australian volcanoes classified as active by geologists; Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

They are about 4,100 kilometres south-west of Perth and part of a large volcanic province in the Southern Ocean.

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Dietmar Muller explained there are only two Australian volcanoes classified as active by geologists; Heard Island and McDonald Islands. Pictured: McDonald Island

University of Sydney Associate Professor and geoscience expert Dietmar Muller explained there are only two Australian volcanoes classified as active by geologists; Heard Island and McDonald Islands. Pictured: McDonald Island

Professor Muller said: 'So, unless you are cruising around in the southernmost Indian Ocean, close to Antarctica, and happen to pass by Heard or McDonald Island, I would say there is nothing much to worry about in the immediate future based on the analysis of the geological record.' Pictured: Heard Island

Professor Muller said: ‘So, unless you are cruising around in the southernmost Indian Ocean, close to Antarctica, and happen to pass by Heard or McDonald Island, I would say there is nothing much to worry about in the immediate future based on the analysis of the geological record.’ Pictured: Heard Island

‘There are no active volcanoes on the Australian continent,’ Professor Muller said on Sunday.

‘Mount Gambier in eastern South Australia is Australia’s youngest volcano. It erupted about 4,500 years ago, and the consensus is that it will probably not erupt in the next 5000 years.

‘So, unless you are cruising around in the southernmost Indian Ocean, close to Antarctica, and happen to pass by Heard or McDonald Island, I would say there is nothing much to worry about in the immediate future based on the analysis of the geological record.

‘However, if you are a time traveller and land in Australia in 5,000 years, you better watch out!’ 

The death toll from the New Zealand White Island volcano eruption is now 16, after an Australian man died in a Sydney hospital. 

The death toll from the New Zealand volcano eruption (pictured) is now 16, after an Australian man died in a Sydney hospital

The death toll from the New Zealand volcano eruption (pictured) is now 16, after an Australian man died in a Sydney hospital

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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