Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blue Mountains from Down Under

Stepping out onto one of the Blue Mountains’ ledges in Australia’s Great Dividing Range is a lot like stepping back in time. The plateau that the mountain range is largely built around was formed close to 50 million years ago and is composed mostly of ancient sedimentary rock and sandstone which give rise to some of the most unique and distinguishable peaks and canyons in the entire world. The rock formation pictured here is known as the Three Sisters which, according to Aboriginal legend, were three of their women who were turned to stone. The three pillars measure in at 922, 918, and 906 meters (>3,000 ft) and stand out nicely against the blue backdrop that the mountains act as in the background.

It is no wonder how these rolling mountains got their name. The tree covered hills give off a hazy blue glow that gives the area a unique Jurassic feel. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself grazing the skies for a pterodactyl; unfortunately there are no known reports yet :(. But on the upside, the Blue Mountains are known to have fossil beds located sporadically throughout the range, and even a "living fossil" known as the Wollemi Pine. The Wollemi Pine is a recently discovered prehistoric carboniferous tree which are believed to have been around for at least 200 million years. In this sense, the connection to the dinosaur era is rather far from being lost.

As captivating as they may be, do not let the Blue Mountains consume all of your attention. Save some room for what lies within the crevices of the mountains. The Black Hole of Calcutta, for example, offers a unique descent down a water carved canyon. Also hidden within the mountains is Claustral Canyon, an ancient, deep scar in the earth that is engulfed in green moss and foliage. Taking a step in Jurassic Park may be daunting for some of us however no one should pass up a chance to see the Blue Mountains of Australia.

Photo Credit:
Ben Fewtrell


1. http://www.bluemts.com.au/info/thingstodo/threesisters/
2. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/australia-canyons/peter-photography#/06-black-hole-calcutta-670.jpg
3. http://immortaloutdoors.com/articles/claustral_canyon
4. http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/claustral-canyon-hike-peter/
5. http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-rocks-and-mountains
6. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/NationalParks/parkGeoFormation.aspx?id=N0004
7. http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/travels-geology-australias-wonders-ocean-desert
8. http://www.wollemipine.com/news/herald-tribune.php

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