Volcanoes in Australia

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Australia's Volcanic History and Features

A volcanic eruption occurs when molten materials from the earth’s interior are thrown out of a volcano. Australia has a history of volcanic eruptions especially on the east coast part of the continent. The east coast of Australia is build up of different states that stretch from the top portion to the bottom part of the continent. The stretch has a lot to offer to the economy of Australia since it is a tourist attraction site. These states are Queensland, Mainland state of Victoria, and New South Wales. Despite being not states, the famous Jervis Bay territory and the Australian Capital Territory are also included. Apart from the beach, the east coast of Australia has volcanic features to offer to the tourist. Most of the volcanic activities in this region are due to hotspot activity. Most of these Volcanoes are extinct, but there are still some in the province in Victoria, which is dormant and may erupt in the future.

Volcanic in Australia

Australia has been far away from the edges of the Indian Australia plate yet it has volcanoes happening for over the last 33 million years (Cas et.al, 2017). This has mainly been due to the plate tectonic boundaries, which are found in the southwest Pacific. Australia is a stable continent, and it does not have several geological risks from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. This is not the case entirely since the continent is always on the risk of having an eruption any time in the near future (Otterloo, 2018). However, Australia has been known of its volcanic activities before the time occupied the continent. The most recent eruptions reported in Australia occurred 5,000 years ago. The recently reported volcanoes are located in the southeastern part of Australia (Drake, 2011). Volcanic features that are still expected to erupt again have dominated the east coast part of Australia.

Reviewing Volcanoes in Australia

The review on the new volcanoes can be used to figure what happened and what should be expected in the future. During the time of most volcanic eruptions, human beings did not inhabit the area. Due to this, there were not many reported risks and problems. In the current situation, the east coast stretches more than 400kms from Melbourne, which is in the CBD to Mount Gambier that is found in the west part (Joyce, 2006). Along the stretch, more than 400 volcanoes are identified. The lava produced during the eruption found its way in the western plains of Victoria. The volcanoes in Australia are reported to differ from each other concerning their explosive. Some volcanoes exploded in the form of ash-cloud-forming eruptions while others were in the form of a beautiful fire. Majority of these volcanoes have extensive lava flows, especially in the western Plains of Victoria.

Maar Volcanoes in Australia

Many volcanoes in the east coast of Australia are Maar volcanoes. They are in the form of a crater with low rims around them. Maar volcanoes are formed after an intensive interaction between ground water and magma. Magma is a mixture of crystals, gases, and molten rock. The Maar is a low relief crater caused by the phreatomagmatic eruption (Cain, 2009). When water at the bottom of the mountains comes in to contact with the magma, they lead to the explosions. The stretch host Tower Hill and Lake Purrumbete. The two volcanoes have been reported to be among the largest Maar volcanoes in the world (Joyce, 2006). Maar volcanoes are known to be between 10 meters to 8Km across. They are between 10 to 200 meters deep. They are surrounded by very week volcanic rocks and rocks torn from the ground when explosive eruption happened. Maars are so large due to the magma encountered in the vast regions of permafrost, creating massive explosions.

Volcanic Eruption Style in Australia

In Australia, volcanoes have given the vivid image of spelling red-hot lava. Majority of volcanoes in the east coast is characterized by magma and lava. The eruptions present along the stretch can be defined as a deep vent on the earth that allows lava, hot vapor, gases, and rock fragments to eject to the outer surface (Cain, 2009). Simply, a volcano can be explained as the way of lava out of the earth’s crust. Before the explosion takes place, the temperatures at the bottom of the crust become so hot hence causing the rocks and other earth materials to melt. The hot melting rock found at deep service is referred to as magma. After the eruption, the liquid form discharge is regarded to as the lava. The formation of a volcano in Australia begun when magma, which is now less dense than its original form, finds ventilation out to the surface (Cain, 2009). The magma that is stored at the magma chambers is pushed up by the pressure generated by expansion of gases and steam produced by the magma.

Different Styles of Eruptions in Australia

Majority of the younger Australian volcanoes were reported to erupt with a combination of different styles. The styles of eruption are named after the name of their discoveries. The difference between one method to the other is based on the form of explosion. A type of eruption can be explained by time or intensity. When explosions become more explosive, they are referred to Plinian (Drake, 2011). The term was discovered by after Pliny who described Vesuvius eruption that led to the destruction of Pompeii. The Plinian eruptions are characterized by the development of umbrella-like clouds that may disappear after several weeks or months (Such, 2018). Long time to wait for Australia's next volcanic eruption. However, the huge explosion can be regarded as Vulcanian style if the explosion occurs like a burst. The cloud, in this case, is expected to disappear with the moving air after a few hours. When the upward forces can not hold the cloud released during the eruption, fast-traveling clouds made of hot gases are experienced (Drake, 2011). The clouds are a result of collapsed clouds that flow down the slopes of the volcano. In other cases, the water from the sea or underground reacts together to cause a magma-water eruption. During this eruption, some large craters and fine materials are emitted and deposited around the volcano inform of ash. The volcanic eruptions since they do not explode with the same magnitude they have different effects. The more the scope of the explosion the more the effect of the eruption will be (Nemeth & Kerezturi, 2015). Some of the eruptions such as the Mt Gambier were some of the most severe eruptions, which have occurred over a long period.

Predicting Future Eruptions in Australia

As time goes, eruptions will happen, and many geologists have been studying to determine where the eruptions will occue. The next eruption in Australia should be expected at the east-coast stretch of the continent. The question of how the next eruption is likely to look like can be explained by the location of the eruption (Weber & Green, 2016). For instance, if it takes place around the northern part of the new province, a vast lava flow accompanied by fire fountains can be expected. Such type of eruption is restricted around Hamilton or Bendigo. In case the eruption takes place at the southern part mainly around Mount Gamber, a lot of more explosion is expected due to the presence of groundwater.

The possibility of Australia experiencing another eruption is still high on the east coast part of the continent due to the numerous developing volcanoes located in the area. A new eruption could be up after the Iceland eruption in 2010. The eruption reveals how a volcanic would look like to the new generation. However, the possibility of a volcano during our reign seems impossible basing on the history of all active volcanoes in the country (Cascio, 2016). The history highlights that all active volcanoes in the area go through an eruption after every 10, 000 years (Weber & Green, 2016). The statistics collected in the last 4.5 million years verifies that the next volcano will be experienced some years away from now. Comparing the previous situation, the volcano did not make a substantial negative impact on human beings (Handley & Cos, 2018). The most significant effect was developing the soil fertility. The lava discharged by the volcanoes was reported to be more fertile than the ordinary soil. This has heavily influenced agriculture in the eastern parts of the continent. In the current situation, more impacts that are negative are meant to be experienced due to the developments that are taking place in the area (Weber & Green, 2016). The volcanoes and other features have been some of the most important tourist attraction sites. Different people have invested in the area by utilizing different practices. A sudden eruption will cause more destruction of properties and significant viewpoints. Similarly, the lives of different people will be put into danger because of the devastation experienced.


The volcanoes in Australia have been there over a long period. Due to various climatic changes which have been happening in the region over the last few years, it is expected that in the new future the east coast of Australia will experience volcanoes in the future. The intensity of the volcanoes will be a huge determinant of how it will affect the lives of the inhabitants of these locations. The previous volcanic eruptions had a positive effect on the lives of the people, but it is not known what the future has held for the people of Australia. With the right technology, one can know the time at which the next volcano will happen. With this forecasting, the Australian economy can be improved since they can determine the hotspot areas and increase the tourist activities in these areas.


Cain, F. (2009). Maar Volcanoes - Universe Today. Retrieved from https://www.universetoday.com/31502/maar-volcanoes/

Cas, R. A. F., Van Otterloo, J., Blaikie, T. N., & Van Den Hove, J. (2017). The dynamics of a very large intra-plate continental basaltic volcanic province, the Newer Volcanics Province, SE Australia, and implications for other provinces. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 446(1), 123-172.

Cascio, W. F., & Aguinis, H. (2015). The risk of volcanic eruption in mainland Australia

Drake, N. (2011). Hawaiian hot spot fuels volcano debate. Nature. doi: 10.1038/news.2011.327

Handley, H., & Cas, R. (2018). Would an eruption in Melbourne really match Hawaii's volcanoes? Here's the evidence. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/would-an-eruption-in-melbourne-really-match-hawaiis-volcanoes-heres-the-evidence-101675

Joyce, E. (2006). The risk of volcanic eruption in mainland Australia. ASEG Extended Abstracts, 2006(1), 1. doi: 10.1071/aseg2006ab079

Németh, K., & Kereszturi, G. (2015). Monogenetic volcanism: personal views and discussion. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 104(8), 2131-2146.

Otterloo, J. (2018). Australia's volcanic history is a lot more recent than you think. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/australias-volcanic-history-is-a-lot-more-recent-than-you-think 58766

Such, J. (2018). Volcanoes of Australia | John Seach. Retrieved from http://www.volcanolive.com/australia.html

Weber, K., & Green, S. (2016). Long time to wait for Australia's next volcanic eruption. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-27/volcanic-eruption-still-possible-in-south-east australia/7451878

October 05, 2023

Nature Geography Geology

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Volcano Australia

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