previous Picture of the Day articles we have considered the geological
history of the Australian continent and found that there are several
disconformities in the appearance and structure of many formations. The famous
“Red Center” is particularly noteworthy because Uluru, Kata Tjuta and other
stone tors stand in isolated grandeur above the relatively flat landscape.
Flinders Range is a rugged outcrop of sandstone and quartzite that begins
about 250 kilometers north of Adelaide and stretches for 800 kilometers. The
mountains are extensively folded and fractured, with several deep gorges cut
through them. One of the most unusual features in the range is
Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheater of stone covering 83 square
kilometers, with interior dimensions of 11 kilometers by 8 kilometers.
The conventional view of the Flinders Range sees it forming over 650 million
years ago as sediments in a now extinct ocean. Earth movements pushed the
materials upward into a dome-shape that has been subsequently worn down through
the natural processes of erosion by wind and water. Over the millennia, the
surrounding peaks have diminished and the hills and valleys have vanished into
the dust and sand of the great desert. As the standard theory goes, although
Wilpena Pound appears to be the remains of a meteor impact the overall shape
and the stratigraphic composition do not support that idea.
As has been
pointed out in the past, however, erosion does not possess the
all-encompassing power for change that modern geology asserts. In our Picture of
the Day about
Shiprock, New Mexico the dual-ridge faults, the
curved gullies that stretch out from a common center, and the sharp ridges
with sine wave undulations incised into them were all said to be the remains of
lightning bolts of continental dimension cutting into the topography like a
Wilpena Pound is the
Edeowie Gorge. A striking example of vitrification can be found there, since
the gorge reveals sheets of
pale yellow glass buried under the sandstone overburden. The glass is
extremely pure with no admixture of soils or mineral inclusions, very much like
the Egyptian “desert glass” that is found in the Great Sand Sea near the Libyan
border. Both glass deposits also contain dark wisps of iridium and tiny bubbles
of cristobalite – features that point to the application of exceptionally high
temperatures when the glass was created.
The desert glass is associated with an enormous crater called Kebira that was
recently discovered by analyzing images taken from earth-orbit. The
32-kilometer-wide depression is said to be the ancient remains of an asteroid
impact, but there is little indication of a crater and there are multiple sharp
peaks in its center. Such attributes have been discussed elsewhere and have been
theorized to be from electric arcs fusing the sands into molten glass and then
blasting the chunks outward over a wide area.
Taken together, the fused sand, the scalloped edges of the ridge surrounding
Wilpena Pound, the iridium, the raised rim, the curvilinear gullies and the
other geological anomalies all point to electrical activity as the causative
agency for its creation. The conventional geological viewpoint is insufficient
when it comes to explaining the many bizarre landforms in Australia.
By Stephen Smith