Volcanic activity expands McDonald Island off Australia

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Satellite image by MODIS shows cloud formations at nearby Heard Island, caused by water droplets forming around dust spewed by McDonald Island volcanic activity.

The volcano on McDonald Island, approximately 4,000 kilometres south-west of Western Australia, is erupting for the first time since 2001. Magma is described as slowly "oozing" out of the volcano by Professor Michael Stoddart, chief scientist with the Australian Antarctic program, creating new land suitable for colonisation by local wildlife. The volcano is one of Australia's two active volcanos.

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Senator Ian Campbell unveiled satellite images of the island today at the opening of the annual Australian Antarctic Division exhibition at Parliament House.

The small island group is rocky from its volcanic geological origins, and uninhabited. The recent activity on tiny McDonald Island caused it to almost double in size.