Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Purnululu National Park
|Purnululu National Park|
|Location||Western Australia, Australia|
|Date of Establishment||1987|
|Governing Body||Department of Conservation and Land Management|
Purnululu National Park is in Western Australia, 2054km northeast of Perth. The nearest town is Kununurra. Access to the park by road is via Spring Creek Track, from the Great Northern Highway approximately 250km south of Kununurra, to the track's end at the visitor centre. The track is 53 km long and is usable only in the dry season (about April 1 to December 31), and only by four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles. Safely negotiating it takes approximately 3 hours. Access by air is less demanding; helicopter flights are available, from Turkey Creek Roadhouse at Warmun , 187km south of Kununurra, and light aircraft, from Kununurra.
Purnululu is the name given to the sandstone area of the Bungle Bungle Range by the Kija Aboriginal people. The name means sandstone or may be a corruption of bundle grass. The range, lying fully within the park, has elevations as high as 578 metres above sea level. It is famous for the sandstone domes, unusual and visually striking with their striping in alternating orange and grey bands. The banding of the domes is due to differences in clay content and porosity of the sandstone layers: the orange bands consist of oxidised iron compounds in layers that dry out too quickly for cyanobacteria to multiply; the grey bands are composed of cyanobacteria growing on the surface of layers of sandstone where moisture accumulates.
The origin of the landscape
The distinctive beehive-shaped towers are made up of sandstones and conglomerates (rocks composed mainly of pebbles and boulders and cemented together by finer material). These sedimentary formations were deposited into the Ord Basin 375 to 350 years ago, when active faults were altering the landscape. Rainfall over millions of years shaped the domes.
What to see and do
Some of the things to do at the Bungle-Bungle ranges are:
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