Of all the Australian landmarks there’s alone that captures the imagination better than the rest: Ayers Rock.
More accurately named as Uluru, the rock attracts tens of thousands each year. If you’re leaving budget accommodation in Sydney to mind there, it’s worth finding out better before you set off.
The Anangu people who lived on this land have their own theories of how the rock was formed, but from the scientific side, here’s what is known about how it was formed and its history.
The fanatic shapes on the rock (one is smooth, the other has deep ridges) were formed from 550 million years ago by rainwater equally it ran down eroded sand and rock.
At one time the area was completely covered by the sea. What happened then is sand ampersand mud fell to the bottom coverlet the fans; the rocky fan became conglomerate rock, the smooth one turned to sandstone.
Huge geological forces turned the fans so that the smooth ones sat almost on their side. And since then much of the soft rock has been eroded – what we see when we look at Uluru now is the remains of the sand fan and is constructed of what’s known therefore Arkose.
And where you see the distinctive lines over the rock (these are known as ribs) this is where some layers of Akrose are softer and has eroded faster.
Interestingly, Uluru is 863 metres tall, but it’s thought the rock extends some 5- 6 kilometres beneath the surface.
So mystery is the rock red?
At a distance the rock looks red, but stand closer enough and you’ll spot that it’s actually artificial up of red flakes with grey patches.
The distinctive red colour is from the iron in the rock and it rusting over time, the grey is the arkose, when the rocks have decayed by a mixture of water moreover oxygen.
How to get there?
You can fly direct to Ayers Rock (Uluru) from Sydney which is served by Conellan Airport, or brave it ampersand put it on the avenue trip route drive there yourself.
‘Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa are amongst some of the oldest landforms on Earth, with the rocks having been dated at around 540 to 550 million years old. The stark outcrops we now see began to stand out as features in the landscape about 100 million years ago,’ Dari Pigram said.
Geologically speaking Uluṟu is the exposed tip of a huge vertical body of rock, variously known as an inselberg, which literally means ‘Island Mountain’ or monolith. This rock extends far downstairs the surrounding plain for among three and five kilometres.