Uluru By Zachary Westwood

One of the largest Monoliths on the Planet!

Now that's something to be proud of!

Deep within the heart of Australia, located 350km south-west of Alice Springs, lies one of the biggest sandstone rock formations found. Yes, this is Uluru. This giant rock stretches 2.5km into the Earth's surface, it is as tall as 318m, and it's circumference measures a whopping 8km!

Uluru is composed of a material known as arkose, a coarse grained sandstone, which is enriched with the mineral feldspar. The sediment that formed this material, has found to be eroded from high mountains, which is highly enriched with granite.

Sourced from Google Images and 'Find Photos' selection bar.

Fun Fact: In 1872, Ernest Giles described Ayers Rock as 'the remarkable pebble.'

The Difference Between Stories and Gecological Findings

Geological Findings

Geological findings tell us that Uluru and Kata Tjuta lie near the southern margin of an area known as the Amadeus Basin. This layer in the Earth's crust was formed over 900 million years ago, and received layers upon layers of sediment.

At the time, the Amadeus Basin was a shallow sea collecting these sediments. Some of it was blocked off from the sea, and that water evaporated, leaving crusted salt. Sometime in between this period of time, the area experience a cold period, which left behind deposits of glacial rock.

These Photos show the evolution of Uluru and Kata Tjuta over millions of years
These Photos are Sourced from The Australian Government - Department of Environment and Energy

The older sediments in the Amadeus Basin were crumpled and buckled about 550 million years ago, which uplifted mountain ranges, this event that occurred is known as the Petermann Ranges Orogeny. At the time this occurred, there were no trees or grasses covering the landscape. Bacteria and algae were the only living things in the area, and they actually help shape the mountains into what we see them as today.

Imaged Sourced from The Australian Government - Department of Environment and Energy

The other thing that shaped these bare mountains was erosion. Huge amounts of sediment washed away when it rained. This formed alluvial fans adjacent to these ranges. It is the remains of at least two of these alluvial fans that are seen today as Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Dreamtime Stories

Dreamtime stories are the telling of special stories through the aboriginal culture. They represent the essence of their society, culture, spirituality and traditions. This is the time that ancestors, Gods and living mortals come and gather to learn about the heritage and customs of the aborigines. To aboriginals, dreamtime is the core, the core of everything, and of the many sacred sites in Australia, none are more important than Uluru.

Some of the writings and pictures of Dreamtime stories. Sourced from Uluru-Australia.com

Fun Fact: Uluru is technically not classed as a monolith! This is because compared to other monoliths, it does not contain the shape of a pillar or monument.

Environment

Images Sourced from The Australian Government - Department of Environment and Energy

Flora and fauna are an important asset of Uluru and it's culture. Most of the plant and animal life fond here are associated with ancestral beings, reinforcing traditional links with the country.

Plant Life

The Wanari Tree

The Wanari tree is one of Australia's most common trees. What may look like leaves are actually flattened leaf stems.

The Wanari Tree

The Kurkara Tree

The Kurkara tree is a slow growing tree that grow in groups. Juvenile Kurkara trees look like small Christmas trees, when adult trees form, they spread massive limbs and roots.

The Kurkara Tree

Ilykuwara Srub

This shrub looks like a shrubby mulga with broad, round-ended leaves.

The Ilykuwara Shrub

The Pukara Flower

The Pukara flower is seen blooming in early June near the Uluru sunset viewing centre. It has a pretty array of tiny pink and white flowers

The Pukara Flower

Tjanpi Grass

The Tjanpi grass is a array of prickly hummocks have an amazing root system that stops desert sands shifting.

The Tjanpi Grass

Animal Life

Mala (small wallaby)

Mala is a small species of wallaby that was once the most abundant and widespread macropods in the Northern Territiory. This marsupial weighs in around 800 - 1600 grams. Sadly today the Mala is all but extinct in the wild, but luckily, a breeding program successfully breeded them in the wild, and now the population has raised to 220.

Some Photos of Mala (Sourced from Google Images)

Itjaritjari (marsupial mole)

Itjaritjari is a small mole with a head and body length of 121 - 159 millimetres and tail length of 21 - 26 millimetres. This species of mole is listed as rare, and are widely spread over the desert region of Australia. These animals are rarely seen because it spends most of it's life living underground, and because they are inclined to their burrows when it rains.

Some Photos of Itjaritjari (marsupial mole)

Malu (Red Kangaroo)

Malu (Red Kangaroo) is mainly found in the better-watered plains and low open woodlands, but subsists in the desert. The males are 1645 - 2400 millimetres in length, and the females are 1390 - 2000 millimetres in length. Malu weigh between 22 - 85 kilograms (Males) and 17 - 35 kilograms (Females.) When the conditions are not in their favour, they can nurture up to three babies at once.

Some Photos of Malu (Sourced from Google Images)

Climate of Uluru

Uluru is situated near the centre of a semi-arid desert, where temperatures range from as low as 3 degrees, to as high as 37 degrees. On average, Uluru and Kata Tjuta experience only 308mm (12 inches) of rain each year, which isn't very much.

Climate Graph showing Temperature of Uluru

Uluru is a natural environment, with a few spread out man-made features surrounding it. Most aspects of Uluru are natural, but some aren't. Man made aspects are used to record what is happening to Uluru and Kata Tjuta, others are used to accommodate tourists, and some give off stunning views. But because of some of these man made things, Uluru is slowly eroding. This is because of how people are allowed to walk and climb on Uluru. There is a big debate over whether or not people should be climbing and walking on Uluru. My personal opinion is that people shouldn't be climbing on Uluru because the area is sacred to aboriginals, and because we should be preserving it for future generations.

Graph Showing Average Rainfall of Uluru

Tourism Debate

Uluru is a natural wonder that is the heart of this iconic country, so why are we treating it like it's just an regular piece of rock? Uluru is not something that can be reborn, it's a natural gift that this Earth gave us.

Each year, more than 300'000 people visit Uluru, and hundreds of these people who visit, can't wait to climb it. This is the reason why our iconic rock is slowly fading away. These people who climb it, don't realise that they are breaking the trust between themselves, and the custodians who originally owned the land. The custodians don't like it to be climbed because they believe that the Rainbow Serpent wouldn't allow people climbing up he's creation. On average, more than 30 people die trying to climb Uluru. This is why the Rainbow Serpent doesn't allow people to climb this in the Dreamtime, because of how dangerous it is to climb.

What Can You Do About It?

For starters, when you visit Uluru, you can help by picking up the rubbish you see, it doesn't matter if it's yours or not. Just pick it up! You could be saving an animals life. You never know. Also, you can help myself, and the custodians of the land by not climbing up it. Just imagine that if you wanted to show your children the heart of this iconic country, you couldn't, because the Australian Government closed off the area to the public, and the people who live there. This means that the custodians of the land will have to move away from their home, and watch it from afar for the rest of their lives. Imagine how they would feel. They would feel terrible. This is why you shouldn't climb Uluru in the first place. Lastly, I would like to say that Uluru is the most fascinating place on the planet, and nothing can change that. Except for the few people who want to damage it. So please, don't hurt the heart of our country.

What Are Some of the Implications Put In Place for Uluru?

Some of the implications put in place for Uluru are, for example, the zoning off the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Land Trust have put in place. Some other examples of this are the signs put around telling people where they can and can't go, putting chains around so some of the walking track, and restricted areas, are zoned off to the public, so people can't walk there.

There are a lot of restrictions put in place for Uluru and Kata Tjuta because of how sacred the sites are to the people who own it, and the custodians who live on the land. These restrictions are important to the custodians because it means that people can't come and walk all over their history and culture.

Looking into the Future

In the near future, Uluru will look no different to what we know it to be now. If you were looking very distant into the future, Uluru would be different. This is to be known because of the Governments' plan to let people walk on Uluru, despite not listening to the custodians of the land, telling people not to climb it. Other factors like shy rainfall , and how rare cold seasons are, will not affect it too much. Wind is also another factor to Uluru's future face. Because Uluru is located in a really dry and arid place, there is very likely to be any devastating winds or storms anytime soon.

Why is Uluru So Significant to the Australian Community?

Uluru is significant to the Australian community because of where it is situated, how unique it is, how it formed, and how sacred it is. In general, Uluru is a one-of-a-kind rock. It can't be found anywhere else, nor it can't be re-created, because of how unique it is. One of the other reasons we love this rock is because of it's tourism. Tourism is a big thing to Australia, and this rock is on top of most tourists lists when they come to visit. This is why the Australian Communtiy worship this sacred rock.

Imaged Sourced from Google Images

Conclusion

In conclusion, Uluru is the most sacred, and most important thing to this county. It cannot be taken away from us, nor can it be stolen, or re-created. This is why Uluru is so sacred to the custodians of the land, Australians, and myself. I find this rock fascinating, and so do other tourists, who come from far, and wide, to snap a selfie with this gigantic rock. I hope one day that I get to visit Uluru. I want to because of all of the fascinating animals, plants, and customs held within the area by the custodians who traditionally own the land. I also want to visit the area to learn about the history of this rock. As said before, I hope I get to visit one day.

Zachary Westwood

Created By
Zachary Westwood
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Credits:

Created with images by swampa - "Uluru" • brunoconsoli - "olgas mountain australia" • walesjacqueline - "uluru ayers rock australia" • alexhealing - "Uluru-Kata Tjuta"

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