Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for . . .

Image Source: Maartin Danial

Uluru rock. What is it? A humongous sandstone monolith smack dab in the middle of the Australian outback. It's around 600 million years old, higher than the Eiffel Tower at over 1,100 feet tall, 2.2 miles long, 1.2 miles wide, and has a circumference of 5.8 miles.

Why is it here? It's made of a harder rock than it's surroundings, so it got left behind after erosion did its thing. Like an iceberg, a large portion of this rock isn't even visible--it's underground. The orange-red color is due to the surface oxidation of iron. Without the iron, it would appear grey.

Image Source: Eddy

The Uluru rock is a holy place for the Anangu tribe of Aboriginal people who've lived there for over 10,000 years.

This site is a major tourist destination, but because it is a sacred site, climbing is discouraged (but not forbidden unless the winds are high), and visitors are asked not to take home pieces of the rock as souvenirs. But they do. Every day the park service receives at least one back with notes of apology. Apparently the rocks are cursed. Some of the returns come with notes of accidents, divorce, and other instances of bad luck. The largest rock sent back so far weighed 32 kg (70 pounds). Wonder what the postage was on that sucker?

Would you dare bring home a pebble or twig from this place?

(Information adapted from Science Kids: Uluru Facts for Kids and The Telegraph: Tourists Return Stones to "Cursed" Ayer's Rock)


  1. First, I didn't know about this rock. It looks like it has something to say and I wouldn't take any of it home with me. It is amazing that the largest part is still underground. It reminds me of glaciers. Only a portion of a glacier is above the water from what I have heard.

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  2. Leave it there for others to enjoy.
    I'd like to know how someone carted off a rock that heavy.

  3. Hmm, I'm not sure I would have the nerve to take a piece of a cursed rock home with me. Not that I believe in such nonsense, but you never know :)

  4. I remember seeing a movie many years ago about a bunch of girls who had a picnic there and then disappeared. I can't remember the name of it now. But I was so intrigued by it that I looked it up. An amazing natural wonder.

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  5. Great Band I have a couple of LPs

  6. This is such a rare and interesting rock. I wouldn't pick cursed rocks for sure!

  7. I can see why people would make this place sacred. It's solid and imposing out there by itself. I'm trying to imagine the size of that rock someone hauled off. How? Why? And what kind of catastrophe did they experience?

  8. It's such a striking feature. Why would anyone try to ruin it by taking a piece?

  9. That's fascinating that the pieces are returned after the tourists that take them suffer bad luck.

  10. I've always wanted to visit Australia and this would definitely be on my 'to see' list!

  11. Oh dear, this is a hard one for me, I'm a collector of rocks. And not the ones you can hold in your hand. I have a piece of the volcano in Hawaii that you're not supposed to have, (a friend gave it to me, I've never been there)oh dear. I'm already cursed? So maybe a second one would erase the first? :)

  12. I have a couple of rocks and pottery shards from archaeological sites in Israel, where tourists aren't really supposed to take souvenirs. I've heard stories about people mailing back rocks from other sites which are rumored to be cursed or haunted.

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  13. Yeah, I think I'll just leave the rocks there if I ever visit. I'd feel bad if I took one when there were signs saying not to. I'm such a goody-goody at times. Hehe!

  14. Beautiful! For some reason I think of the mashed potatoes scene in Close Encounters, even though I know it's not the same rock. I just see a pile of mashed potatoes!

  15. I wouldn't bring home a rock simply because it's rude - stealing bits of someone's sacred site is just not nice, curse or no curse. It does look incredibly beautiful.
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  16. I'm very naughty when I visit such places, as my secret collection shows!

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  17. Interesting! I think people should leave things as they are, and if you want to take something home, take a picture.

  18. Where exactly do you hide a 70 pound rock?

    Very interesting story.



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