3D/2N Uluru Camping Tour With Emu Run Tours (Part 8) : ‘The Lost City’ & A Dead Sea’s Ripples At Kings Canyon

Our journey continued on through the rugged terrain of Kings Canyon. So far, we’ve gained quite a handful of valuable insights through our hike.  Informative signs were strategically placed in designated areas of the canyon for visitors to take a breather and deepen their knowledge.

 

A Cross Section Through Time & A Glimpse At The Lost City

By now, we have climbed over 100 metres and we were standing on rocks dating back to a time when the Earth was bare, with hardly a patch of green to be seen. Like postcards from the past, these rocks provided important information about the canyon’s history.

For your info, Kings Canyon is made up of two layers of sandstones – the Mereenie and Carmichael Sandstones. The cliff tops consist of Mereenie Sandstone. It’s hard and brittle because it’s made entirely of tough quartz grains, cemented with silica. The Mereenie Sandstone is about 400 million years old.

The Carmichael Sandstone of the canyon slopes is about 440 million years old. It’s more crumbly because it contains softer minerals mixed with quartz. We can clearly see these two layers of sandstones on the canyon walls. Across the canyon, we caught a glimpse of a natural beehive-like weathered rock formation that resembles the remains of an Aztec city, thus earning it the name ‘The Lost City’.

 

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An informative sign explaining the layers of sandstones that make up Kings Canyon, Australia
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A variety of delicate desert vegetation at Kings Canyon, Australia
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We watched our steps and made sure not to disturb or step on any of the delicate desert vegetation at Kings Canyon, Australia
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A type of bush tucker / desert tomato at Kings Canyon, Australia
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The children enjoying a taste of the available bush tucker at Kings Canyon. Bush tucker, also called bushfood, is any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by the original inhabitants, the Aboriginal Australians
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Bush tucker in Northern Territory, Australia include a variety of edible desert flora, the witchetty grub and honey ants. Do you dare to eat it? I can’t bring myself to eat the wriggly creature…
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Erika in an impressive rock formation at Kings Canyon, Australia
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The weathered wall of Kings Canyon, Australia
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The track curves right then goes up and through a wide gap between high walls called Priscilla’s Crack
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Take the time to stop and watch the shapes and shadows that move across the rocky landscape as the sun rises at Kings Canyon, Australia
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Visitors are advised to follow the markers to avoid getting lost at Kings Canyon, Australia
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Our group members taking photographs of a stunning sandstone wall at Kings Canyon, Australia
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Kings Canyon, Australia
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An interesting landscape at Kings Canyon, Australia

 

From A Crack To A Canyon

Kings Canyon was formed through a crack in the Mereenie Sandstone layer of the south wall. Through time, wind and water erosion widened and deepened the crack. The crack eventually reached down to the softer Carmichael Sandstone layer, which now forms the lower slopes of the canyon.

As the Carmichael Sandstone eroded, it undercut the upper sandstone leaving a huge gap below. Without support, the affected blocks of sandstone, some larger than a house, sheared away and tumbled down. And over millions of years, Kings Canyon was formed.

The circular markings we now see on the south wall were probably formed by the release of stress when the Mereenie Sandstone cracked. The white stains on the cliff face are the droppings of the Peregrine Falcon. These beautiful birds of prey are usually seen cruising over the cliff tops. It dives like a bullet to knock unsuspecting birds out of the air.

 

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Picturesque Kings Canyon, Australia
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Exploring the rim of Kings Canyon, Australia is a fun thing to do!
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Erika admiring the natural beehive-like weathered rock formation at Kings Canyon that resembles the remains of an Aztec city, thus earning it the name ‘The Lost City’
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‘The Lost City’ of Kings Canyon, Australia #1
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‘The Lost City’ of Kings Canyon, Australia #2
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An informative sign explaining the origins of Kings Canyon, Australia

 

A Dead Sea’s Ripples

One of the interesting sights I encountered in Kings Canyon apart from the breathtaking canyon view was the intriguing ripple marks on the ground. Yes, you read that right – ripple marks on the ground! Ripple marks which were formed by the existence of bodies of water on the landscape.

These prominent ripple marks are evidence that there were once shallow lakes at Watarrka, millions of years ago. It seems that Central Australia was a windswept plain, covered with sand dunes over 400 million years ago. The climate was dry, but rivers still flowed and vast lakes dotted the landscape.

 

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Our group steadily made our way to Cotterills Lookout at Kings Canyon, Australia
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What looks like water droplet marks on the ground at Kings Canyon, Australia
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Visitors admiring and examining a dead sea’s ripples at Kings Canyon, Australia
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The intriguing ripple marks on the ground at Kings Canyon are evidence that there were once shallow lakes at Watarrka, millions of years ago

 

Up next:  Exploring The Garden of Eden at Kings Canyon

 

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