QuickCheck: Are there volcanoes in Malaysia?

CONTRARY to what most people believe, it is said there are actually volcanoes in Malaysia. Is this true?



Yes, Malaysia does have volcanoes but almost all are extinct.

Scattered across the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak are various volcanic formations, all of which are extinct.

The most interesting lies in the volcanic fields of the Tawau Hills Park in Sabah where six volcanic cones are packed close together.

At 1,310m, Mount Magdalena is the tallest, followed by its sister peaks Mount Lucia (1,201m) and Mount Maria (1,020m).

Tawau Hills Park is a good place to go to see Malaysia's only volcanic crater at Mount Magdalena.Tawau Hills Park is a good place to go to see Malaysia's only volcanic crater at Mount Magdalena.

The three are actually the peaks of the same mountain formation and are colloquially referred to as the "Three Sisters" due to how close they are to each other.

Mount Magdalena features the only volcanic crater in Malaysia, meaning at one point in its history it had an eruption explosive enough to literally blow its top off.

When that happened is uncertain but experts say it was some time in the late Pleistocene, so 11,650 years ago at the latest.

ALSO READ: QuickCheck: Did a mud volcano erupt in Sabah?

There are three other smaller volcanic cones in the area, Tiger Hill (337m), Quoin Hill (541m) and Bombalai Hill (530m).

Bombalai Hill is considered to be still somewhat active (ie not extinct) and it has two lava flows extending to the coast that have been dated to about 27,000 years ago.

In conclusion, while there are formations in Malaysia that owe their creations to volcanism, they are all mostly extinct with a few dormant one such as the examples given here.

Other examples would be the long extinct Linau-Balui Plateau volcano, of which the most recent lava flows were in the Quaternary (about two million years ago) or the Kuantan Basalt formation in Pahang that last saw activity over 200,000 years ago.


1. https://gsm.org.my/products/702001-100383-PDF.pdf

2. https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=269010

3. https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/kuantanbasalt.html

4. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/02/sabah-tourism-to-hit-a-peak-state-aims-to-make-visiting-volcanic-spots-attractive-to-visitors

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