Cricket legend Shane Warne may not seem to have much in common with Jurassic-era volcanoes buried deep beneath the earth’s surface, but his “explosive talent” and “fiery temperament” have led researchers to name their discovery in his honour.
- About 100 ancient volcanoes were discovered with the help of advanced imaging techniques
- The volcanoes are a kilometre beneath the surface in outback SA and Queensland
- The discovery has been labelled the Warnie Volcanic Province
Geological analysis recently carried out by the universities of Adelaide and Aberdeen revealed a “province” of about 100 volcanic remains in the Cooper and Eromanga basins, in outback South Australia and Queensland.
The volcanoes — between 160 and 180 million years old and buried hundreds of metres beneath the earth — were discovered with the help of geological analysis conducted by the oil and gas industry.
During his career, Warne — who is currently fuming about the decision to rest fast bowler James Pattinson at Lord’s — was famous for erupting into appeals during Ashes battles.
University of Adelaide petroleum geoscientist Simon Holford said it was only fitting the ancient subterranean landmarks were named after the prolific leg-spinner.
“We’ve discovered a province of about 100 volcanoes — that’s a conservative estimate — located in the north-eastern part of South Australia and south-western part of Queensland,” Associate Professor Holford said.
“We felt we couldn’t miss the opportunity to nod to the fiery temperament and explosive talent of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne.
“He’s turning 50 next month so he’s not quite as old as the volcanoes we discovered, but he can consider this an early birthday present.”
The so-called “Warnie Volcanic Province” was discovered with the help of technological advances, including cutting edge imaging techniques.
The remote area is a hotbed of oil and gas drilling and exploration, including fracking, and is home to geothermal energy projects.
Associate Professor Holford said the discovery also had the potential to reveal a lot about the country’s geological and environmental evolution.
Simon Holford tweet: Introducing the Warnie Volcanic Province Previously undiscovered Jurassic volcanoes beneath central Australia Imaged in awesome 3D seismic data Named after the legend that is @ShaneWarne
“Many people might be familiar with the Jurassic period of time from the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies,” Associate Professor Holford explained.
“These volcanoes, you can’t visit them. They were at the earth’s surface about 160 to 180 million years ago, but they’ve been buried beneath a kilometre or more of younger rocks.
“The fact that we’ve only able to discover this province it raises lots of questions as to what other ancient geological features may be preserved deep beneath the surface of Australia.”
The new research was combined with existing data from exploration projects, Associate Professor Holford said.
“This is a part of Australia where there have been thousands of wells drilled over the last 60 years,” he said.
“The fact that we’ve only now been able to identify this province of ancient Jurassic volcanoes really goes to show how little we know about the … evolution of Australia.
“It raises lots of questions as to what other ancient geological features might be preserved deep beneath the surface.”
Researcher had never heard of Warnie
Associate Professor Holford said its name was also a nod to a nearby exploration well, called “Warnie East”, drilled in 1985.
But he said naming the whole volcanic range after Shane Warne was a decision prompted by the last Ashes series in Australia.
“A Scottish PhD student from Aberdeen and his supervisor came out to Adelaide,” Associate Professor Holford said.
“It happened to be during a warm-up game for the 2017 Ashes.
“I took my colleagues to watch the cricket and the Aberdeen supervisor and I were horrified to hear the Scottish PhD student had never heard of Shane Warne.
“We felt that the volcanoes he’d discovered had to be named after [him].”