Space and Place
Uluru also known as Ayers Rock is located in the middle of the northern Territory arid "red centre". The nearest large town is Alice springs and that is 450km away. Uluru is at least 350m high, 3km long, 2km wide and then another 6km of the rock is underground. Uluru is the traditional name for the rock but Ayers Rock is the name the Europeans gave it. In 1950 Uluru/Ayers Rock was made a national park. Uluru is sacred to the Aboriginals and especially the Anangu people because they used to hold traditional rites and ceremonies there dating back over 60,000 years. It is thought that the rock started forming in a basin 900 million years ago.
This contour map shows the elevation of the rock, the closer the lines, the steeper the gradient.
Uluru is a big sandstone rock. It has no vegetation at all meaning there is little wildlife. However at the bottom of the rock it is well nourished because of run off rain water. There is a range of animals such as mice, lizards, snakes, kangaroos, dingoes and many types of birds you would also find lots of nourished plants living in this area. Having these types of animals and plants makes this an ideal spot for Aboriginal ceremonies. It is thought that around 400,000 people visit Uluru each year. So many people visiting the rock causes erosion, littering, trampling, habitat loss and braking down of the track. This is a problem because people do not realise the harm they are causing. There are no toilets on the rock meaning that when people climb they need to refrain from urinating because the acid in urine contributes to erosion. Although it is not illegal to climb Uluru the Aboriginals advise people against it. Uluru has claimed 37 lives. In 1983 Bob Hawke Australia's Prime Minister at this time made a promise to prohibit climbing the rock. He then broke this promise in 1985. Uluru is continuously changing due to environmental conditions.
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