Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park
The national park was established in 1958, combining 2 major tourist attractions such as the Uluru Rock (Ayers Rock is the name given to it by the European people) and the Kata Tjuta (called the Olgas by Europeans). The park has an overall size from approximately 1300 square Kilometers.
After a long heated discussion between the whites and the Aborigines, the Anangu, the Australian government gave the land back to its original owners in 1985. In order to keep the area for tourism, an agreement was signed for the next 99 years.
The Olgas, also called by the Aboriginals Kata Tjuta which means "many heads", are about 32 miles west of the Uluru/Ayers Rock located in the middle of the dessert.The highest dome is the Mount Olga with a height of 546m; the Kata Tjuta/Olgas were once a huge and solid single rock. Due to destructive forces of weathering, the rock material has been eroded into individual domes. There are several domes, which rise into the sky with an amazing effect on you.
It is estimated that the impressive rock formations were initially deposited about 500 million years ago and about 300 million years ago folding and faulting produced the final orientation of the rock layers.Due to the effects of nature - sun, wind, rain - weathering and erosion exposed and shaped the rocks into their present form. The Kata Tjuta/Olgas and Uluru formed at the same time and the layers they are part of extend deep into the Amadeus basin although they are not directly connected.
Geology of Uluru and Kata Tjuta/Olgas
Visually both are from a distance very similar in their color; the two attractions in the National Park differ greatly from each other geologically:
- Uluru is known as a monolith, i.e. it is a huge single rock. BUT it is actually a large monolithic outcrop of layers of pebbly sandstone rich in the mineral feldspar.
- Kata Tjuta/Olgas on the other hand, is conglomerate (a sedimentary rock made of pebbles, cobbles and boulders cemented together with sand and mud grains). Weathering and erosion has divided the conglomerate outcrop into several individual domes.
When the huge chunk of rock Kata Tjuta/Olgas was being folded and faulted, vertical joints or fractures cracked through the rock.
Water seeped down the cracks and over millions of years the rock eroded away - grain by grain, pebble by pebble, to form valleys and gorges that split the rock block into blocks.
Curved cracks called topographic joints were formed at the surface of the blocks. Weathering and erosion wore away the rocks above the cracks to produce the rounded domes we are able to see today.
Kata Tjuta/Olgas, that's how the Anangu named their collection of domes, means "many heads".
The Kata Tjuta/Olgas are sacred to the Anangu. They believe in the dreamtime and its creativity.The Kata Tjuta is used by the Anangu men for rituals.
There are three parking spaces that lead easily to the accessible hiking trails in the area of the rock domes.
From the northern parking lot out there is a circular route to find in order to explore the Valley of the Winds, duration 2-3 h, an indescribable experience the Olgas.
From the western parking lot leads eastward to Mount Olga a Gorge Walk, duration 1-2 h. It is also possible between the tops of the Kata Tjuta/Olgas to walk. However, one should be prepared for difficult climbing, trail markers are missing in most cases.
Please answer the following two questions:
1. How many domes protrude from the ground?
2. What do you mean by a conglomerate?
3. The famous photo!
This is indeed known to be no more Log conditions, so we call it "Owner-wish". Please take a nice picture with the “Kata Tjuta/Olgas” in the background.
The correct answers are then regarded as Log-requirements!
Enjoy this geological expedition very much and good luck!