An expedition led by the University of aboard the research vessel Investigator has found a cluster of extinct volcanoes about 250km off the coast of Sydney.
The volcanoes were found in about 4,900m of water while the team, led by marine biologist Professor Iain Suthers, were mapping the seafloor in search of lobster nurseries.
The cluster contains four calderas, which form when land supporting a volcano collapses upon eruption. The largest has a rim circumference of about 1.5 kilometers and rises 700 meters above the ocean floor. This particular type of volcano is particularly valuable for geologists because they help tell part of the story of how Australia and New Zealand separated forty to eighty million years ago.
The discovery was made possible by the powerful improvements to sonar on board the ‘Investigator’, a research vessel that is also capable of sending and receiving data while at sea, helping scientists analyse their findings and surroundings quickly.
The voyage departed Brisbane on 3 June and concluded on 18 June in Sydney, and involved 28 scientists from UNSW, Latrobe University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Sydney, the University of Auckland, the University of Technology Sydney and Southern Cross University.
[img source] The University of New South Wales
The above story is based on materials provided by the University of New South Wales