6 Facts about the Bungle Bungles

6 Facts about the Bungle Bungles

About Purnululu National Park (Commonly called the Bungle Bungles)

Fact # 1 : The Bungle Bungle range was formed over 360 million years ago when sand and gravel were deposited during the Devonian period. The sand was deposited by rivers flowing from the northeast. With the presence of the south-easterly winds much of the year, sand dunes began to form.  At the same time, gravel from eroding mountain ranges to the north-west were also being deposited within the range. This combination of sand and gravel became compacted together forming sandstone as the deposition of new gravel and sand continued.

Fact # 2 : The geological formation continued until 60 million years later when the sandstone was now at a depth of about 7km and a period of uplifting and tilting from underlying rocks began. This event of mountain building is commonly called an orogeny. Today, the towering beehive domes are the remnants of what was once a nearly-flat land surface 600 metres above the present day sea level.

Fact # 3: Probably the most spectacular feature of the Bungle Bungle is the very distinctive tiger-striped skin. Each of the bands is a few metres thick and represents the individual sandstone layers or beds. The dark grey band of sandstone contains a cyanobacterium (formerly known as blue-green algae) which acts as a protective coating.

Fact # 4 : During the dry season, the coating takes on a dull grey appearance, however, after rainfall this band becomes almost black. The orange band has a protective coating of iron oxide over the sandstone, hence the reason for a rusty appearance. Both the grey and orange protective coatings play a vital role in retarding the weather and erosion effects on the underlying sandstone.

Fact # 5 : For many thousands of years, the Bungle Bungle has had cultural significance to the Aboriginal people, yet it was only in 1983, after a widespread media promotion, that this hidden jewel of the Kimberley was exposed to the rest of the world.

Fact # 6 : Prior to this, the only people that knew of the Bungle Bungle were the local Aboriginal people, pastoralists, stockmen and a few helicopter pilots. It was decided that in 1987, due to the unique landscape, significance to the Aboriginal culture and tourism potential, the Bungle Bungle and surrounding areas would be established as a National Park. In 2003, the Purnululu National Park was listed as a World Heritage site.

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