The Cosgrove hotspot track runs the full length of Australia, from coast to coast. Drew Whitehouse, NCI National Facility VizLab. The world’s longest continental volcanic chain has been found running the length of Australia, hidden deep beneath the Earth’s crust. It runs for over 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles), from the Whitsunday Islands in the north of Queensland all the way down near Melbourne in the country’s southern coast.

The chain, said Rhodri Davies, lead author of a new journal by Australian National University’s School of Earth Sciences, was created by the drift of the Australian continent over the last 33 million years. As the land mass drifted northward, it passed over the top of a hotspot, an active volcanic region in the Earth’s mantle. This hotspot, still thought to be in existence under the Tasman sea, a little to the northwest of Tasmania, created the long volcanic chain. FULL REPORT