Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Stable Australia

No Australian volcano has erupted for nearly 5000 years and some are considered to be dormant, though possibly extinct. When volcanic activity did occur in  Australia in the distant past it was confined to relatively localised events. The subduction zone now lies along the east coast of New Zealand. As a result New Zealand, situated on the eastern edge of Indian-Australian tectonic plate, has the highest concentration of youthful volcanoes in the world and is one of the most seismically active areas of the world. The stability of the Australian continent, with limited  volcanic activity for many millions of years, and the relatively small amount of seismic activity is the result of Australia being situated in the centre of its tectonic plate, well away from the active regions along its margins, particularly in New Guinea and New Zealand. The most concentrated area of volcanic activity in Australia occurred along the east coast, near the margin of the continent, as it moved north over a 'hot-spot'. The result is a chain of volcanoes becoming progressively younger from north Queensland to near Melbourne in Victoria. The oldest dated in the Great Dividing Range is 40 million years old. The youngest in Victoria is about 5,000 years old. The chain of hot spot volcanoes spread large amounts of basalt around them which is now a rare example (for Australia) of rich, renewed soils.

Sources & Further reading

  • Mary E White, After the Greening, The Browning of Australia, Kangaroo Press, 1994
  • Mary E. White, Listen...Our Land is Crying, Kangaroo Press, 1997



Last Updated 04/05/2010


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