Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Elephants in Australia

Australia has some of the most exotic sea life in the world, in addition to some of the most unique landscapes in the world. With the Great Barrier Reef in an arm’s reach, the Blue Mountains a bit more inland, and the Glasshouse Rocks on Narooma’s southern beaches, the eastern seaboard takes a lot of the country’s attention. But what about the west coast? Australia contains about 7.6 million km2 (≈4.7 million mi2) of land so what are a few places that go under the radar?

Elephant Cove, located in William Bay National Park is one of these places. This park is on the southwestern coast of Denmark, Australia. The cove gets its name from the giant granite boulders that have been eroded and smoothed out over time and to some eyes resemble a herd of elephants grazing in the water. Although metamorphosed elephants would be way cooler, the granite boulders have a much more traditional geological history to them.

The bay was most likely level or close to level with the many of the granite rocks at one point in time. With evidence of an old volcanic dike present in the form of basaltic rock lining the eastern edge of the cove, many geologists believe that the cove eroded faster than the surrounding granite rocks. After thousands of years, the erosion of the cove unveiled more and more of the granite boulders. Think of how sand, when washed away, can oftentimes expose hidden rocks that previously lied undiscovered. This is similar to how Elephant Cove came to be.

Now, the elephant rocks provide western Australia with a landscape unlike many others in the world. Shallow pools and flowing inlets rest beside these granite giants, offering an aquatic experience unique to Elephant Cove. For those of you that are hesitant to meeting the real elephant giants, take a trip down to the western AU and take a swim with these elephants instead. They are much safer to swim with however extremely slow to move.

Photo Credit:
Kirk Hille

1. http://www.denmarkwesternaustralia.com/denmark-wa-travel-destinations/elephantrocks.htm
2. http://www.westernaustralia-travellersguide.com/elephant-cove.html#.UbTPnOve7Y1
3. http://www.westernaustralia-travellersguide.com/william-bay-np-nature.html#.UbTPouve7Y1
4. http://www.rainbowcoast.com.au/areas/denmark/elephantrocks.htm

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