The geology of Uluru and Kata Tjuta explained

03 August 2012

The spectacular landform shapes of Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa, which dominate the surrounding desert in central Australia, are the product of geological events stretching back over millions of years.

These amazing geological features are the subject of a recently revised guidebook which has been released by Geoscience Australia in the lead up to the 34th International Geological Congress being held in Brisbane next week.

The book includes an authoritative account of the geological history of this World Heritage-listed landscape, as well as a guide for visitors seeking to explore and appreciate the scenic beauty and geological features of Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa.

’The Anangu people, the traditional owners of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park who have occupied the area for thousands of years, have complex explanations for the landscape features which complement those provided by modern geological studies,’ Geoscience Australia CEO Dr Chris Pigram said in releasing the book.

’Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa are amongst some of the oldest landforms on Earth, with the rocks having been dated at around 540 to 550 million years old. The stark outcrops we now see began to stand out as features in the landscape about 100 million years ago,’ Dr Pigram said.

Geologically speaking Uluṟu is the exposed tip of a huge vertical body of rock, otherwise known as an inselberg, which literally means ‘island mountain’ or monolith. This rock extends far below the surrounding plain for between three and five kilometres.

The book includes many photographs highlighting the features that can be seen during a walking tour around Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa, as well as a glossary of geological terms. It is available for purchase from the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre. The Sales Centre can be contacted via freecall within Australia on 1800 800 173 or by email

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Geoscience Australia 24 hour Media Hotline 1800 882 035

Topic contact: Last updated: August 9, 2012