Earth from space: Sacred stones of the outback

Sep 09, 2011
This Landsat 5 image, acquired on 18 May 2011, takes us to the Amadeus Basin in the heart of the Australian outback. Two large rock formations are visible on the lower section of the image. The group of 36 domed rock formations to the west (left) is the Kata Tjuta with the tallest dome, Mount Olga, reaching 1066 m above sea level. Forty kilometres east of Kata Tjuta is Ayers Rock, known to the Aboriginals as Uluru. The white area at the top of the image is the salt-crusted Lake Amadeus. ESA supports the Landsat series as a Third Party Mission, meaning it uses its ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute Landsat data to users. Credits: USGS

(PhysOrg.com) -- This Landsat image takes us to the Amadeus Basin in the heart of the Australian outback.

Two large are visible on the lower section of the image. Sacred to the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu, these sandstone 'bornhardts' are the main features of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a .

The group of 36 domed rock formations to the west (left) is the Kata Tjuta with the tallest dome, Mount Olga, reaching 1066 m above sea level.

Forty kilometres east of Kata Tjuta is Ayers Rock, known to the Aboriginals as Uluru. Surrounding the formation are springs, waterholes, caves and ancient paintings.

Local legend claims that misfortune will fall on those who remove rocks from Uluru. It has been reported that many who had taken this risk later attempted to mail the rocks back to lift the curse.

The white area at the top of the image is the salt-crusted Lake Amadeus. Although it contains hundreds of millions of tonnes of salt, the remote location renders it nearly impossible for harvesting.

This area in the southern part of the Northern Territory is home to a variety of animals, including the red kangaroo, emu, marsupial mole, various bats and over 70 species of reptiles.

The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5, jointly managed by and the US Geological Survey, acquired this image on 18 May 2011. ESA supports the Landsat series as a Third Party Mission, meaning it uses its ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute Landsat data to users.  

Explore further: A 3-D view of the Greenland Ice Sheet opens window on ice history

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Landsat 5 captures Missouri River flooding near Omaha

Jul 06, 2011

Landsat 5 captured an image of flooding occurring along the Iowa/Nebraska border on June 30, 2011. Flooding is still occurring on July 6, and Flood Warnings are still in effect from the National Weather Service.

Recommended for you

Geologists solve mystery of Tibetan mountains

Jan 23, 2015

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, University of Kansas geologists have unraveled one of the geologic mysteries of Tibet. The research, recently published online in Nature Geoscience, shows that i ...

Image: Greenland's Leidy Glacier

Jan 23, 2015

Located in the northwest corner of Greenland, Leidy Glacier is fed by ice from the Academy Glacier (upstream and inland). As Leidy approaches the sea, it is diverted around the tip of an island that separates ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.