Around 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) apart in Australia’s Northern Territory, Uluru and Kata Tjuta stand tall on the flat landscape. What makes Uluru so red? And how did this half a billion-year-old rock—a World heritage site, “one of the world’s most iconic landmarks and one of Australia’s most sacred spots”—form into a massive monolith out in the middle of the Outback?
Its formation began “250 million years before dinosaurs roamed,” and today it continues to have a “spiritual significance to Anangu, the local Aboriginal people whose belief system is intertwined with the landscape.”
Read more about its formation at ABC Science, including this detail on its surise and sunset-amplified color:
The red colour of Uluru is due to the oxidation or the rusting of the iron-bearing minerals within the rock as it has sat there in the desert air for hundreds of thousands of years… “The fresh rock which has not been in contact with the atmosphere is grey in colour.”
Watch these related geology videos next:
• Speed up geologic time with a DIY squeeze box
• Mars 101: An introduction to the red planet
• A cliff wall full of dinosaur footprints in Spain
• The mysterious origins of life on Earth
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