THE PEAK OF ECO-TOURISM
The essential heart of Yerranderie lies in its great geological age and the events which have shaped its unique landscape.
Some 500 million years ago, warm seas covered the area leaving the corals which still form the Silurian limestone belt bordering the Yerranderie Amphitheatre to the West. The amphitheatre takes its circular shape of sandstone cliffs originally stemming from the Yerranderie Volcano, which boiled and bubbled for some 100 million years from 400 to 300 million years ago. It marked the Northern end of the Bindook Caldera, now the Bindook Porphyry.
The original volcano was not a high mountain but more like a huge pie. The piecrust eventually caved in leaving a rim. When the seas rushed in, they deposited layers of sedimentary rocks – sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and some with huge boulders rounded as they were tumbled in the huge seas. Today they are stuck together in composite bands. What we now call Bartlett’s Nose on The Peak is composed of one such band. Occasionally these boulders break off and tumble down into the Village. All of the above layers can be recognised on a walk up The Peak. Specimens can be seen and identified in our museum.
The crest of The Peak however owes its topping to an internal basalt dyke or plug, which was squeezed up through a crack in the earth formed some 80 million years ago when the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust split, allowing a vent for the deep molten lava to escape. It was pushed slowly upwards from the depths. The intense heat of the plug literally cooked the rocks it was passing through and so hardened them. The top gradually spilled out and so now forms olivine basalt top to The Peak. The hard core remained. As erosion took away the softer surrounding rocks, it left the hardened section still standing like a thin section of a large cake.
These discrete layers now attract diverse flora and fauna. The botanical specimens are attracted to the different minerals in the rocks. So on the climb up, the wildflowers are a feature. Further it is possible to find fossils specific to the geological ages of the seas of the period. Today’s animals make their homes in the topography they most enjoy. The birds and reptiles love the hollow logs of the various trees, agile macropods such as the Wallaroos jump from the high rocks. Wallabies, wombats and echidnas prefer the lower levels. The eagles build their nests on the top.
Our Gun-dun-gurra indigenous people had legends to explain why the flora and fauna existed in their homes there.
So a climb up The Peak is an exercise in geology, botany, palaeontology and ecology as well as a physiological one. After climbing the 800 meters above the town, one can enjoy the spectacular 360 degree view, which greets the climber at the top.
ARTICLE by VA LHUEDÉ 2008
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