Scientists have discovered a stack of volcanoes off an Australian coast that have been described as like "illustrations from Lord of the Rings".
Buried deep beneath the sea off the coast of southern Australia is a hidden volcanic landscape, with jagged peaks and volcanoes that have never been seen before.
It comes as the result of newly acquired research from the University of Adelaide, University of Aberdeen and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) using new mapping technology.
The volcanoes are up to 625 metres in height, and stretch over an area 34 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres in width.
Dr Nick Schofield, who co-authored the study, called the new discovery "spectacular".
“By using data acquired as part of oil exploration efforts, we have been able to map these ancient lava flows in unprecedented detail, revealing a spectacular volcanic landscape that bring to mind illustrations from Lord of the Rings," he said.
“Submarine lava ﬂows are inherently more difﬁcult to study than their counterparts on the Earth’s surface due to their inaccessibility, and the technology we have used is similar in many ways to what is used to produce ultrasound images of babies, but for the Earth.
“By using this technique, we have a unique insight into a landscape that has remained hidden for millions of years, highlighting the growing importance of seismic data in studying submarine volcanism.”