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Photographer's Note

Kata Tjuta is found about 30km to the west of Uluru (Ayer's Rock). Whereas Uluru is one gigantic lump of rock, Kata Tjuta is made up of 36 rounded domes with the tallest, Mount Olga, being 200m higher than Uluru at 546m. These spectacular domes cover an area of about 8km by 5km. The photo was taken at a distance of about 3km and, as such, doesn't do the sheer enormity of the domes justice.

The rock layers making up Kata Tjuta are part of the Mount Currie Conglomerate (named after the outcrop at Mount Currie, about 35km north-west of Kata Tjuta). A conglomerate - as you all know - is poorly sorted sedimentary rock containing pebbles, cobbles and boulders of other rocks held together by finer fragments and cemented sand, silt, and mud. In Kata Tjuta the boulders, cobbles and pebbles are generally rounded and consist mainly of granite and basalt, but some sandstone and rhyolite (a volcanic rock) are also present. The red colour is due to the presence of iron oxide.

Kata Tjuta (meaning "many heads") is also known as The Olgas, named after the Queen of Spain in 1872, when the rocks were first visited by Europeans. To the Anangu Aboriginal people this area has been a sacred place for thousands of years. According to their beliefs Mount Olga is the home of the snake Wanambi who, during the rainy season, stays curled up in a waterhole on the summit. During the dry season he moves down to the gorge below. He also uses the various caves on Mount Olga. The hairs of his beard are the dark lines on the eastern side of the rock. His breath is the wind which blows through the gorge; when he gets angry it can become a hurricane.


Post-processing: cropped, auto-levels, curves, USM(190, 1.1, 2)

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Additional Photos by Gary Hall (gary) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 50 W: 21 N: 4] (109)
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