Undara: A legacy in lava


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Undara: A legacy in lava

If you were to ask someone to name a few of the all-time great volcanoes on the planet, most people would probably say Mount Vesuvius in Italy or Mt St. Helens in the USA. Sure, they’re pretty spectacular, if not for their sheer power, then for the incredible destruction that they caused. But what do we know about volcanism in Australia?

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Although we have no active volcanoes on the mainland, we do have extensive geological evidence for a tumultuous and fiery past! In fact, the ancient basaltic lava flows preserved in places like Undara of north Queensland testify to that. Undara’s eruptions may not have been all that violent, but the resulting flows – up to 164 km in length – are widely recognised as being among the longest ever recorded on Earth, meaning that Undara preserves some of Australia’s most impressive and significant volcanic activity. However, it is not only ancient volcanoes and lava flows that have contributed to making this phenomenon the landmark it is today. An equally impressive cultural history has also evolved to help make this awe-inspiring place one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.

AAOD Journal Issue 11 (2013) – pages 36 to 51 
By Dr Gilbert Price and Emily Wood

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