Seen From Space: Sacred Rocks Of The Outback

Article written: 10 Sep , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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Is this a close-up of what’s in that long forgotten plastic container you found on the back shelf of your refrigerator? No. It’s a Landsat 5 image of some of the most sacred areas in the Australian Outback. Let’s learn what they are…

The big picture is the Amadeus Basin – a sprawling area which covers much of the southern quarter of the Northern Territory and extends about 150 km into Western Australia. At the top of the image, you’ll see the salty Lake Amadeus. But looks here can be deceiving. Most of the time it isn’t a lake by traditional standards… it’s a huge salt deposit that awaits rainfall to become fluid.

The “bumps” at the center of the bottom of the image is Kata Tjuta, with its tallest peak being Mount Olga. Here the Pitjantjatjara Dreamtime legends begin, with nighttime ceremonies not revealed to outsiders. These legends are very beautiful and the formations echo their sentiments. Forty kilometres east of Kata Tjuta (and to the right) is one of the oldest formations on Earth – Ayers Rock – known to the Aboriginals as Uluru.

Ayers Rock by Joe Brimacombe

Formed some 500 million years ago when an ocean still covered the area, Uluru is thought of as the center of creation… not hard to imagine given that its singularity rises 1,142 feet above the desert and the base is an amazing 5 miles around. Ayers Rock consists of cave-covered walls with deep runnels caused by perpetual erosion. Aboriginal legend has it that the blood-red Uluru arose from the ocean in protest of war.

Perhaps a legend we’d all do well to listen to, eh?

Original Image: ESA – Observing Earth. Many thanks to the incomparable Joe Brimacombe for the use of his Ayers Rock image. Be sure to visit Joe’s Ayers Rock Area photo pages!

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9 Responses

  1. Ookmon says

    Very cool. To see just how large and remote this area is, is stunning!

  2. Member
    Anonymous says

    It would be interesting to know what elements the colors represent? Shhh… don’t say gold.

  3. There is fascinating geologic evidence (rather removed from the anti-war theory) about how these humps are related and connected underground, part of the same stratum. The aboriginies will probably always object to the tourists flocking up the big rock but that’s become a pretty strong tradition in and of itself. http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/geology/

  4. Terence O'Connor says

    With the recent discoveries of the oldest life forms in the Outback, any scientifically minded individual would agree that these claim s have more credence them Golgotha’s as the birthplace of salvation or Sanath’s as the birthplace of enlightenment.
    Should someone start a tradition of scaling the Kaaba or maybe the wailing wall? Uluru is the grandest cathedral on the planet and probably the largest. It may not be your religion, but it is someone’s.

    Anyone approaching Uluru without that sort of understanding and respect, shouldn’t approach it. If the aborigines do not want tourists desecrating their center of creation, then the entire world should respect that. No one reprimands Christ for clearing the Money changers from the Temple.

    By the way, I am not, in any way, a religious man.

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      I would respect the local people wishes.

      But not because they are religiously founded, the special pleading of religion is something that should be demolished wherever it rears its ugly head. That has been the making of many wars, genocides et cetera.

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      I would respect the local people wishes.

      But not because they are religiously founded, the special pleading of religion is something that should be demolished wherever it rears its ugly head. That has been the making of many wars, genocides et cetera.

      • Terence O'Connor says

        As I said, I am not a religious person, at all, so I am not making my statement on religious grounds. If anything, it is just a matter of basic human civility.

      • Terence O'Connor says

        As I said, I am not a religious person, at all, so I am not making my statement on religious grounds. If anything, it is just a matter of basic human civility.

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