Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ayers Rock, Australia

Ayers Rock is an immense stone outcrop near the center of Australia. It is famous as the largest rock on the earth's surface.

Ayers Rock stands in the Northern Territory, about 273 miles southwest of the town of Alice Springs. The rock is about 1 1/2 miles long, 1 mile wide and 5 miles around the base. It rises to a height of 1,100 feet from a low, sandy plain where only small, tough plants grow. The rock was left exposed after surrounding layers of rock were worn away by erosion.

From the air, the rock looks like a great stranded whale. At sunset, its bare sandstone slopes grow brilliant orange, then they turn purple as the light starts to fade.

Long ago, Australian Aborigines made paintings on the walls of the caves in the rock. The First Europeans to see Ayers Rock arrived in 1872. Today, thousands of visitors to central Australia visit huge outcrop.

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