Hid­den won­ders

Australian Geographic - - From The Editor-In-Chief - Fol­low me on Twit­ter at: twit­ter.com/chris­sigoldrick

ISPENT MANY a Satur­day morn­ing shiv­er­ing on the side­line at Browns Field in Syd­ney’s north, watch­ing my chil­dren play soc­cer. It al­ways seemed a few de­grees colder down there in the val­ley and an oc­ca­sional veil of mist hov­ered above the oval, ob­scur­ing the far goal post.

I dis­cov­ered later that the sports­ground sits in a maar-di­a­treme – a crater, usu­ally 200-300m in di­am­e­ter, left be­hind by a se­ries of vol­canic ex­plo­sions in­ter­act­ing with ground­wa­ter. Di­a­tremes, along with the more fa­mil­iar cone-shaped vol­canic mounts, re­veal some­thing of the dy­namic forces that have shaped the land­scapes in which we live, and it’s amaz­ing how many there are if you know where to look.We can claim a glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant vol­canic hotspot in south-west­ern Vic­to­ria and south-eastern South Aus­tralia. Jeremy Bourke and Don Fuchs went look­ing for ev­i­dence of the re­gion’s vi­o­lent past and dis­cov­ered a land­scape teem­ing with vol­canic rem­nants and one alive to the pos­si­bil­ity of fu­ture erup­tions (page 52).

We can also claim many sig­nif­i­cant shore­bird breed­ing sites around our coast.They’re an in­te­gral part of the

East Asian-Aus­tralasian fly­way – the routes taken by mi­grat­ing birds fly­ing an­nu­ally from the north to the south of the globe. In our first col­lab­o­ra­tion with ABC Ra­dio Na­tional, we fol­low the plight of th­ese lit­tle en­durance fly­ers as they face un­prece­dented threats to their vi­tal land­ing and feed­ing sites through­out Aus­tralia and Asia (page 64).

Our glo­be­trot­ting documentary film­mak­ers Caro­line Pem­ber­ton and Dean Miller have been meet­ing con­ser­va­tion­ists work­ing to save en­dan­gered species in beau­ti­ful Kenya. Their documentary is now avail­able on our web­site and Dean’s re­port can be found on page 110. It will be screened on Chan­nel Nine in com­ing months, so stay tuned to our web­site and Face­book page for de­tails.

Talk­ing of ex­tra­or­di­nary con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, it’s been 10 years since Earth Hour was launched.What started as an Aussie grass­roots en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tive is to­day a global phe­nom­e­non. Much progress has been made in that time, but there’s still so much to be done; don’t for­get to switch off your lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm (lo­cal time) on Satur­day 25 March.

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