VIDEO: Australia’s largest volcano erupts

By Derek Dunlop 3 February 2016
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Scientists studying volcanoes on the seafloor have managed to capture a rare glimpse of Australia’s largest volcano erupting.

A GROUP OF geoscientists aboard the CSIRO’s research ship the Investigator have captured rare footage of Australia’s largest volcano, Big Ben, erupting while on an expedition mapping the seafloor around the sub-Antarctic Heard Island.

Low cloud cover and overcast conditions had concealed the volcano, however a break in the weather allowed the crew on board to get a rare glimpse of the volcano’s summit, Mawson Peak, spewing smoke and lava.

This is the fourth time the volcano has been seen erupting in the past 15 years.

Jodi Fox from the University of Tasmania, who is doing a PhD on Heard Island volcanism, was thrilled to see the eruption. “To see lava emanating from Mawson Peak and flowing down the flank of Big Ben over a glacier has been incredible,” she said in a blog post published by the CSIRO.

Heard Island is one of the most remote locations in the world, lying in the Southern Indian Ocean about 4100km from Perth, WA. The landscape is dominated by the massive volcano, which is Australia’s largest volcano, and the largest mountain in Australian territory, towering 500m above Mt Kosciuszko. Heard Island and nearby McDonald Island are home to Australia’s only two active volcanos.

Scientists on the voyage are studying the link between active volcanoes on the seafloor and the mobilisation of iron, which supports life in the Southern Ocean.


Watch the full video online here.