Australian volcanoes are for many a thing of the past. Recent travels through the Monaro region of southern NSW rekindled my interest in our ancient volcanoes.
Sitting in a rain shadow between the Southern Alps and the coastal ranges, the Monaro is an immensely fertile area. Covering about 4200 square km, it was volcanically active from 57.5 – 34.0 million years ago. In a more coastal location its stretches of rich basaltic soils would have ensured its potential for agriculture, unfortunately low and unreliable rainfall significantly restricts agriculture.
I find the Monaro an immensely beautiful place, under all conditions, from its extreme droughts to the intense greens of a moist spring.
Here’s another Monaro shot, this one taken on Richardson’s Rd near Bombala, with my iPhone.
This century the driest period in the Cooma area of the Monaro was the year 2002–03. Records confirm that the period July 2002 to June 2003 was the third driest since record keeping at Cooma began, in 1905. Rainfall was 46% below the long-term annual average at 298 mm. The 250mm isohyet is the outer rainfall limit of desert in Australia. Such conditions explain the remarkable contrast in these photos between spring this year and spring of 2002.