Big Ben (Heard Island)

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Satellite image of the southern tip of Heard Island. Cape Arkona is seen on the left side of the image, with Lied Glacier just above and Gotley Glacier just below. Big Ben Volcano and Mawson Peak are seen at the lower right side of the image.
Big Ben is the large massif to the bottom right (southeast) of this image of Heard Island, from NASA World Wind

Big Ben is a volcanic massif that dominates the geography of Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean. It is a composite cone with a diameter of approximately 25 kilometres. Its highest peak is Mawson Peak, which is 2,745 m above sea level. Much of it is covered by ice, including 14 major glaciers which descend from Big Ben to the sea. Big Ben is the highest mountain in Australian Territory, except for those claimed in the Australian Antarctic Territory.[1] A smaller volcanic headland, the Laurens Peninsula, extends approximately 10 km to the northwest, created by a separate volcano, Mount Dixon; its highest point is Anzac Peak, at 715 m.

Volcanic activity[edit]

Volcanic activity at the cone has been known since 1881. An eruption occurred in 1993.[2] Satellite images detected eruptions during 2000. On 2 February 2001, observations from Atlas Cove, 15 km NW of Mawson Peak, showed plumes up to 1 km high over the volcano. Satellite images showed hotspots at various times from 2003 to 2008, and during September 2012.[3] A further eruption was reported on 2 February 2016, and was recorded by scientists who happened to be in the area on an expedition. Big Ben does not endanger humans because Heard Island is uninhabited.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Division, c=AU;o=Commonwealth of Australia;ou=Department of the Environment;ou=Australian Antarctic. "Frequently asked questions". Retrieved 2016-05-23. 
  2. ^ Big Ben
  3. ^ Heard Island Volcano - John Seach
  4. ^ "Scientists film Big Ben sub-Antarctic volcano eruption". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°06′30″S 73°31′30″E / 53.10833°S 73.52500°E / -53.10833; 73.52500