Pilbara textures

The trip to The Kimberley also included The Pilbara, where iron ore mining occurs on an industrial scale. At Port Headland, 6 bulk ore carriers are loaded at once (more now as the terminal has expanded) and over 20 ore carriers are moored off the port awaiting their turn. Trains bring the iron ore to the port – trains 495 carriages long!

Port Dampier near Karratha is the other large port. It is not as big as Port Headland but impressive nonetheless.

The Pilbara has amazing textures, heavily influenced by the abundant iron in the rocks. So many things are red, the rocks, the sand, the dust and the visitors. The red is caused by the oxidation of the iron in the rocks. Who said you cannot bend rock?

The Pilbara also had some interesting barks, distinctly different from the Kimberley. Enjoy.

A living dinosaur – the Wollemi Pine

In 1994 a Park’s Ranger was hiking in a remote part of the Wollemi National Park (pronounced Woll-a-my), in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. He came upon an unusual pine he did not recognise and took a sample. It was later identified as a pine that had survived for over 200 million years. The only previous records were fossils. In this remote location, a single stand of the tree had survived.

It was named the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia noblis) after its location and the Ranger who discovered it. The location remains secret but some fools have walked in and took a disease with them, Phytophthora cinnamomi.

These photos come from one of 2 pines at Mt Annan Botanic Gardens in western Sydney. One picture is the cone and the other showing new growth (lighter green) and the deeper coloured old growth. Click on the images to see full size.

An intense cultivation program was started so you can purchase the pine in many nurseries now.

Putty Beach, Bouddi National Park, Central Coast of NSW

The Doc has wanted to visit and photograph the sandstone here for some time, with no success (one or two failed attempts). So he booked 2 nights at Copcabana this week to visit and take photographs.

Here, the sandstone made up of tessellated pavement and Liesegang rings. They do not fully understand how these rings occur, but they do occur in sedimentary rock with a cross cut pattern. Iron and other minerals must be present creating the patterns. The is a heavy iron layer in this rock, you can see iron oxide or rust layers when the iron is exposed to water and oxygen.

Technically “there is a precipitation process that is thought to be the catalyst for Liesegang ring formation referred to as the Ostwald-Liesegang supersaturation-nucleation-depletion cycle.” OK?

A small selection of the spectacular sandstone.

Putty Beach also has a nice rock platform with some large waves. This place must be spectacle in heavy surf, as it was great with minimal waves. Enjoy.