Australia's mysterious grand canyons revealed

29 May 2003

Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

Australia's very own mysterious underwater Grand Canyons - the Murray Canyons - were revealed for the first time in an animated 3D fly-through at a joint launch by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Warren Entsch and Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp.

The fly-through provides the first complete picture of the spectacular underwater topography of the massive Murray Canyons, which are deeper than America's Grand Canyon and more than twice the height of Australia'' highest mountain, Mt Kosciusko. These fascinating canyons stretch over more than 150 kilometres to the south of Kangaroo Island off the South Australia coast and are a virtually unknown Australian geological treasure.

Produced by Geoscience Australia, the digital fly-through shows detailed images of the immense underwater canyon system that extends into the sea from the Murray River. This information and other new data was collected during the recent AUSCAN research voyage, which includes a core sample from the Murray Canyons that contains information on Australia's climate over the last 250,000 years.

The AUSCAN voyage was funded by the Federal Government's National Oceans Office (NOO) and the French Polar Institute with contributions from Australian National University (ANU), Geoscience Australia and the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

"We will combine the swath data from the AUSCAN voyage with seismic data of the Murray Canyons region to get a better picture of the geology from the sea floor down to five kilometres or more into the earth. Together with information from sediment cores being studied by ANU geologists, this will increase our understanding of the region's evolution," said Geoscience Australia senior scientist, Peter Hill.

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