IKONOS Satellite Image (1 m) – Ayers Rock also known as Uluru, Australia
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(Image Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)
Ayers Rock a giant monolith, one of the tors (isolated masses of weathered rock) in southwestern Northern Territory, Australia. It is perhaps the world’s largest monolith. The Aboriginals of the region call it Uluru. Composed of arkosic sandstone, which changes colour according to the position of the sun, the rock is most impressive at sunset, when it is coloured a fiery orange-red by the sun’s rays.
Rising 1,100 feet (335 metres) above the surrounding desert plain, Uluru/Ayers Rock is oval in shape, 2.2 miles (3.6 km) long by 1.5 miles (2 km) wide. Its lower slopes have become fluted by the erosion of weaker rock layers, while the top is scored with gullies and basins that produce giant cataracts after infrequent rainstorms. Shallow caves at the base of the rock, which is within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park (established in 1958 as Ayers Rock–Mount Olga National Park), are sacred to several Aboriginal tribes and contain carvings and paintings. Sighted in 1872 by Ernest Giles, the rock was named for former South Australian premier Sir Henry Ayers. In 1985 official ownership of Uluru/Ayers Rock was given to the Aboriginals, who thereupon leased the rock and the national park to the government for 99 years.
The rock and the surrounding park were named a World Heritage site in 1987, and the park was redesignated in 1994 for its cultural significance. For more information on Ayers Rock/Uluru, visit here.