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Scientists Discover Ancient 50M-yr-old Underwater Volcanoes, Could Be Reason For Australia, NZ Split

Scientists Discover Ancient 50M-yr-old Underwater Volcanoes, Could Be Reason For Australia, NZ Split
Untitled Alvaro Pardo / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Environment

Scientists Discover Ancient 50M-yr-old Underwater Volcanoes, Could Be Reason For Australia, NZ Split

A series of giant underwater volcanoes 50 million years old have been discovered off the coast of Sydney. Scientists said they could provide clues on the split up between Australia and New Zealand.

It just wasn’t two volcanoes but four that were surprisingly discovered 250 kilometers off Sydney submerged in five kilometers of water. The largest is 1.5 kilometers across the rim. It rises 700 meters from the sea floor.

Richard Arculus, Australian National University volcano expert, described to AFP the volcanoes were “a window into the underlying mantle” beneath the seabed. He said he hoped the discovery will provide clues as to how New Zealand and Australia separated 40 to 80 million years ago.

Australia’s new ocean-going research vessel Investigator found that the four extinct volcanoes were actually calderas, which form after a volcano erupts and the land around them collapses, forming a crater.

Iain Suthers, the chief scientist for the voyage and UNSW Australia marine biologist professor, said in a news release the center of the volcanic cluster is 33 31 S, 153 52 E, about 248 kilometers from Sydney Heads. The cluster is 20 kilometers long and six kilometers wide and the seafloor is 4,890 meters deep. The highest point in the cluster reaches 3,998 meters.

Source: YouTube/ Nadia Ploners

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