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Roaming the outback and back

sunny 78 °F

Well, I don't know if it's officially the Outback, but I did head north out of Perth for a day of visiting the countryside. The first random thing I did was head off on a side road from the main highway lured by a sign for the Western Australia Gravity University Research Center. Of course, my first thought was of a bunch of scientists standing around with an apple going "yup, it does fall down even though we are on the wrong side of the world-how does that work?" Alas, I had foolishly neglected the Iron Law of Public Places and after about a 20 mile drive I found that the Center was closed on Mondays.

The good news was that I was in some pretty undisturbed country by the time I got there


so I took the opportunity to roam around. It appeared to be the height of wildflower season if you looked closely! There were dozens of kinds of wildflowers, some quite spectacular


but the great majority were quite small and hidden, but still beautiful. Reminded me of California desert wildflowers in that way.



There were also a variety of unusual plants that made it clear I wasn't in Kansas any more.


Up the road, in contrast, is the Australian wheat belt.


I pressed on, enjoying the view and happening upon the occasional oddity like this -


My goal was Nambung National Park, home of the Pinnacles formation. And it was worth the trip


There are thousands of these things all sticking out of the desert - how they were formed is still unclear.


There were pinnacles of all shapes and sizes. Here's a small one - a 'minnicle'?


And, of course, the really small ones are nanicles....


Another really cool feature of the area is a highly saline lake, Lake Thetis, which is the home of some stromatolites.


These are mats of bacteria that develop through a combination of accretion and expansion caused by gasses welling up from below. The coolest things about stromatolites is that this life form can be found in the fossil record over 3.5 billion years ago - currently the earliest record of life on Earth. So the picture above would look pretty much the same billions of years ago! (Except for the sky color - oxygen levels were likely lower so the sky and water wouldn't look so blue - the photographers of 3.5 billion years ago would have had to use paleo-Photoshop to get this nice blue color.)

Hit the beach for the usual spectacular sunset and headed home


Posted by tdeits 14:55 Archived in Australia Tagged sunset outback pinnacles wildflowers

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