Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Rocks and Landscapes of the Gold Coast Hinterland

Since rocks tend not to follow political boundaries but our understanding of them often does it is good to know about what is north of the Northern Rivers/New England Border in southern Queensland. Last year I was going to do a post on the Focal Peak Volcano but then I remembered that the Queensland Division of the Geological Society had produced some excellent publications on the subject and recommended one in particular, so the post was essentially a recommendation for the Book the Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of Southern Queensland. But I deliberately omitted from the post comments on another brilliant book that had recently been fully revised so that I could deal with is separately.

The other book is called Rocks and Landscapes of the Gold Coast Hinterland by Warwick Willmott. I enjoy this book very much because it is simple to understand but goes into a good amount of detail. It also shows you exactly where to go to see a feature of interest just like a self guided tour.

However, the detailed knowledge of the northern part of the Tweed Volcano may have skewed research and our understanding of the volcano in general. For instance, although the Tweed Volcano has been assumed to be centred around the site of present day Mount Warning in New South Wales most of our understanding including the detailed research of PhD and MSc level on the volcano actually comes from the University of Queensland. The University of Queensland has been the driving institution for decades in research on these northern flanks by exceptional researchers like Professor Anthony Ewart and Dr Jan Knutson.

As I have discussed in numerous other posts on the Tweed Volcano, the model of what the volcano looked like and how it was formed has recently been questioned by authors such as Cotter (1998). In my mind this raises some questions about elaborating the northern side of the volcano to the remainder in New South Wales. While I have nothing to question the good work on the northern side of the border, including the wonderful books produced by the Australian Geological Society's Queensland Division, it appears that the model of volcanism of the Tweed Volcano has been interpreted to fit into a Queensland model. This has occurred ever since authors like Duggan & Mason (1978) and continued to Stevens et al (1989) and most recently by Howden (2009). I do not question to model of rock formation to the north of the border (it works for what is there) but according to Cotter (1998) south of the border pre-volcanic geological conditions seemed to be different and this had a significant effect on the mode of volcanism in the area. This however, does not mean that the Rocks and Landscapes of the Gold Coast Hinterland is incorrect in any way on its description of Queensland geology, it is just important to note that interpreting the geology south of the border can sometimes be problematic even if a cursory look means that it appears reasonable.

But I have digressed a great deal. Back to the Book! The Rocks and Landscapes of the Gold Coast Hinterland is formatted in a way that makes it a geological tour. If you end up traveling through the Gold Coast area, do get a copy of this book. It is only about $12 including postage and is quite large and detailed for its price. In fact I'm surprised that the cost is so low, but I think that all the time that Warwick Willmott has put into writing it has been for free. As I have said in other posts, Warwick is one of the great science educators in Australia, and the book really helps understand the Gold Coast area a lot.


*Cotter, S. 1998. A Geochemical, Palaeomagnetic and Geomorphological Investigation of the Tertiary Volcanic Sequence of North Eastern New South Wales. Masters Thesis, Southern Cross University.
*Duggan, P.B., Mason, D.R. 1978. Stratigraphy of the Lamington Volcanics in Far Northeastern New South Wales. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences V25.
*Howden, S. 2009. An Evaluation of Mafic Extrusives Spatially Assoicated with the South-Western Aspect of the Tweed Shield Volcano, BSc(Hons.) thesis, University of New England, Armidale.
*Stevens, N.C., Knutson, J., Ewart, A. & Duggan, M.B. 1989. Tweed. In Johnson, R.W. (ed). Intraplate Volcanism in Eastern Australia and New Zealand. Cambridge University Press.


  1. Thanks for sharing information on Northern Rivers Geology, i have visited your blog great post...........

    kitchens warwick qld

    1. Thanks for visiting Riki. I notice your link is about kitchens. I will sometime do a post on dimension stone etc including the great resources we have in the New England for stone building materials including bench tops etc. Do you use local stone in your business?

  2. Thanks for sharing information on this blog, i have visited your blog great post....!!!!

    Kitchens warwick qld