The last volcanic eruptions in mainland Australia took place around 4,500-5,000 years ago and were witnessed by Indigenous Australians. In this talk we'll delve deep into Australia's rich and fascinating volcanic history and use volcanological and petrological approaches combined with human knowledge from preliterate times to investigate how likely a future eruption is in mainland Australia, what the warning signals might look like and how much time we may have to prepare should we detect signs of activity. The general public's current perceptions of volcanic risk and preparedness in Australia to volcanic activity from within and outside the country will also be highlighted.
Heather Handley is an Associate Professor of Volcanology and Geochemistry and leads the Volcanic and Magmatic Research Group at Macquarie University. Her research unravels the secrets held in the chemistry of volcanic rocks and their minerals to answer questions such as what triggers volcanic eruptions? and how fast does magma travel from its source to the Earth’s surface? Heather holds a PhD in Volcano Geochemistry from Durham University, UK and 1st Class Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geology from The University of Edinburgh, UK. In 2012, Heather was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to advance our understanding of the timescales of Earth-system process. She is Co-Founder and President of the Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences Australasia Network (WOMEESA) and is Co Editor-in-Chief for Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Heather received an AIPS NSW Young Tall Poppy Award in 2014 and has led more than 40 outreach events and workshops. She frequently writes for The Conversation, has given over 60 television, radio and print interviews and has featured in documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery Science. She is also mum to two very curious young girls.