A cluster of about 100 volcanoes found deep beneath the surface of central Australia has been named the “Warnie Volcanic Province” as tribute to legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne. Scientists from the universities of Adelaide and Aberdeen discovered the subterranean volcanic remains, sitting hundreds of metres beneath outback South Australia and Queensland, back in 2017—christening it in part as a nod to the nearby Warnie East 1 exploration well.
Now, University of Adelaide geoscientist Simon Holford revealed that Warnie himself—the bleach blonde bad boy of Australian cricket, inimitable leg-spinner, anti-balding spokesperson, and hot-headed firebrand—also inspired the name of the Jurassic-era geological formation.
"We've discovered a province of about 100 volcanoes—that's a conservative estimate—located in the north-eastern part of South Australia and south-western part of Queensland. [And] we felt we couldn't miss the opportunity to nod to the fiery temperament and explosive talent of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne,” Associate Professor Holford said, according to the ABC. "He's turning 50 next month so he's not quite as old as the volcanoes we discovered, but he can consider this an early birthday present."
During his career with the Australian cricket team, Warnie was notorious for erupting into bouts of anger and launching into impassioned appeals with the umpires. Professor Holford said the idea to name the whole volcanic range after the Spin King was sparked during the last Ashes series in Australia, when a Scottish PhD student from Aberdeen and his supervisor came to Adelaide.
"It happened to be during a warm-up game for the 2017 Ashes,” Holford said. “I took my colleagues to watch the cricket, and the Aberdeen supervisor and I were horrified to hear the Scottish PhD student had never heard of Shane Warne.
"We felt that the volcanoes he'd discovered had to be named after [him]."
Holford himself described the Warnie Volcanic Province as a “Jurassic world” of ancient volcanoes buried deep beneath the Cooper-Eromanga Basins of central Australia. According to the authors of the study—published in the science journal Gondwana Research —finding such an epic volcanic landscape in an area that has already undergone substantial data collection “raises the prospect of other undiscovered […] volcanic provinces both in Australia and in other continental areas worldwide.”