Hamersley Gorge

If you know anything about plate tectonics, you know that the surface of the planet is not static. It is, rather, in constant, if slow, motion, with continents moving, seas opening and closing—and earthquakes and volcanoes along the edges where the plates meet. Over the ages, land has been repositioned, created, destroyed, pushed under, and pushed up. For example, the Indian subcontinent is on a different tectonic plate than the rest of Asia, and it is the crashing of the Indian plate into the Asian plate that has pushed, and continues to push, the Himalayas skyward.

The forces at work in plate tectonics are immense. And it was these forces that created some of what we were seeing in the Hamersley Range. The range itself is actually a plateau that was pushed up millions of years ago, and has since then been formed by erosion. But signs of the tremendous pressure involved in that pushing are still evident—most dramatically at Hamersley Gorge, where one can see massive, layered bands of ancient rock that have been bent like ribbons of soft clay. The same forces that create earthquakes in Japan, volcanic eruptions in the Andes, and the growth of the Rocky Mountains created the waves and bends in the walls of Hamersley Gorge.

I picked the image below, not because it showed the largest or tallest bending and bowing of the rocks, but because it shows it so clearly.

Hamersley Gorge

Hamersley Gorge

1 Comment

Filed under Australia, Book, Geography, Nature, Science, Travel

One response to “Hamersley Gorge

  1. Pingback: An Aside – Awed by Antiquity | Waltzing Australia

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