Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rains bring rare waterfalls

Asiaone News, Sat, Jan 16, 2010 AFP

PHOTO: Rock My Soul Uluru is the pilgrimmage all Australian travellers should do Image by John Maddocks

SYDNEY - HEAVY rains which flooded parts of Australia's vast desert centre have brought rare waterfalls spilling from the iconic monolith Uluru, or Ayers Rocks, officials said on Saturday.

PHOTO: The iconic monolith Uluru, or Ayers Rocks

The deluge, which swept across much of the continent's east after a tropical cyclone last month, prompted a wave of green in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, home to the giant red rock.

PHOTO: The sheer 1,150 feet of giant red rock

PHOTO: Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock) is one of the world’s largest monoliths, rising almost 1,150 feet. It is the summit of a massive underground piece of sandstone about 600 million years old. It is believed that only the top 10% is actually visible. Even though the aborigines prefer that visitors not climb the rock, about 70% attempt it.

'It's something that a lot of people actually wouldn't experience, seeing the park at this time of year when it is green and the plants are really shooting and the flowers are coming out,' said park manager Christine Burke.

PHOTO: Uluru up close and personal image by John Maddocks

PHOTO: Rare greens, not to mention waterfall

'It's a very exciting time at the park now to see what happens after we have a good rain and it looks beautiful,' she told state radio.

PHOTO: Have a good rain and it looks beautiful

Situated near the centre of the semi-arid Sturt Desert, Uluru typically receives little more than 12 inches of rain a year, and January is its hottest, driest month, with temperatures topping to 45 degrees Celsius (113 °F). Conditions are overcast, on average, just five days of the year.

PHOTO: Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park. Photograph by Mark Laricchia/Corbis
Lightning flashes over Ayers Rock, a landmark red sandstone monolith that draws tourists to Australia's center. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park houses the rock, called Uluru by Aborigines, the continent's original inhabitants.

'Uluru is a sacred part of Aboriginal tribes' creation mythology and one of the nation's most recognisable landmarks. Australia is currently mulling a ban on climbing the rock on cultural and safety grounds. Signs at the site ask people not to climb it out of respect for the Aboriginal community, but one-third of the 350,000 annual visitors still do so.
-- AFP

PHOTO: Uluru Cultural Centre is a must see at the Rock

PHOTO: Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock) is one of the world’s largest monoliths, with "KUNIYA" and CIRCUIT" WALK.

PHOTO: Surfer, Photograph by Ben Moon/Aurora Photosp
Australian longboarder Belinda Baggs ducks under a wave while surfing in Queensland. Australia’s Gold Coast is a surfing paradise where grommets (Aussie slang for surfers) hang ten in the waves that flow into famous surfing beaches like the Spit, Surfers Paradise, and Mermaid Beach.

PHOTO: Boab Trees, Kimberley. Photograph by Theo Allofs/Corbis
The remote Kimberley region in Western Australia features dramatic landscapes filled with river gorges and sandstone formations that were featured in the 2008 film Australia. The Kimberley is also home to the massive boab tree, close relative of the African baobabs.

PHOTO: The Rock is arkose, a course-grained sandstone rich in feldspar at least 2.5 km thick. Uplifting and folding between 400-300 mya turned the sedimentary layers nearly 90 degrees to their present position. The surface has then been eroded.