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Exhibitions > underworld by John Jackson 210511

Hot Spot Icing (17 million years ago)

Hot Spot Icing (17 million years ago)

At the time of this painting New Zealand had been split away from Australia during the opening of the Tasman Sea, Australia had attempted to split from New Guinea with the opening of the Coral Sea and Antarctica had been left behind on the South Pole. After Australia left Antarctica it had initially migrated north at around 71 kilometres per million years. As it migrated its underside was being cooked by “mantle hotspots” initiated during the opening of the Coral Sea. The hot spots sometimes broke through the crust leaving an “icing” of hot volcanic lava. At first Australia’s northwards journey towards Melanesia and South East Asia was reasonably fast but at 26 million years ago it changed to a westerly drift and slowed to about 26 kilometres per million years. Running into the world’s largest igneous province (now located around the Solomon Islands) had interrupted the northward journey of the Australian Continental Plate. The Pacific Super-plume made this huge igneous “rock” during a cataclysmic outpouring of magma 122 million years ago. It took Australia 3 million years to navigate around this “gigantic rock” but it slowed travel time enough for the hot spot beneath to put the “icing” on The Green Calderon and produce a monument of landscapes that represent the first docking of Australia with Melanesia and South East Asia. After navigating this “giant rock” Australia speed up to 61 kilometres per million years and continued north (reference: 2008 “Rapid change in drift of the Australian plate records collision with Ontong Java plateau” Knesel K.M., Cohen B.E., Vasconcelos P.M. & Thiede D.S. Nature vol., 454/7).  The hot spot that put the “icing” on The Green Calderon is now located beneath Bass Strait.


The dark mauve ribbon that runs from top to bottom is the underside trace of the “mantle hot spot” as Australia moved across it. The deep purple and red “flowerets” represent isolated or overlapping volcanic provinces with their associated yellow centres. The red is for “sticky”, viscous magma/lava such as rhyolite and the deep purple is for “runny” magma/lava such as basalt.


The top, small, isolated, volcanic province is Flinders Peak at 26 million years old. The central, overlapping, left to right provinces constitute The Green Cauldron and range in age from 26 to 23 million years with some late stage volcanic activity up to 20 million years. The isolated volcanic province below The Green Cauldron is located at Belmore New South Wales and the bottom most province is at Ebor New South Wales.


Brisbane is located in the top right, Coffs Harbour in the bottom right and Stanthorpe just left of centre on the big red granite “blob”.

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