A volcanic field in which three unrecorded volcanoes have been found could yet deliver a blast from the past in southeastern Australia, geologists say.
Monash University researchers have discovered the three new volcanoes near Hamilton, in Victoria's southwest.
They are in the heart of the Newer Volcanic Precinct, a still-active 19,000 square kilometre volcanic field spanning Victoria and South Australia.
Lead researcher Julie Boyce from Monash's School of Geosciences said her team combined site visits with analysed satellite photographs, detailed NASA topography models and the distribution of magnetic minerals in rocks to locate the volcanoes.
She said this is the first time that all four research tools have been used for a single study, which could influence similar volcanic studies around the world.
Boyce said there may be other undiscovered volcanoes in the NVP, and eruptions in the future.
''Victoria's latest episode of volcanism began about eight million years ago, and has helped to shape the landscape,'' she said.
''The volcanic deposits, including basalt, are among the youngest rocks in Victoria but most people know little about them.
''Though it's been more than 5000 years since the last volcanic eruption in Australia, it's important that we understand where, when and how these volcanoes erupted. The province is still active, so there may be future eruptions."
One volcano in the NVP erupts every 10,800 years, Boyce said on Thursday.