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Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia – post 2 of 2

By on August 28, 2015 in Australia

Continuing on from Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia – post 1 of 2

I was not expecting all the different colours and the variations size and shapes of the Pinnacles.

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Some of the Pinnacles just appeared to be rocks, and others contained what appeared to be the parts of fossilised plants.

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

I really enjoyed getting out of the car at the Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

The Pinnacles with the sea in the background

Some of the Pinnacles were in groups, and others seemed to be on their own.

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Some of the stones were very isolated

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

The Pinnacle below seems to show some plant roots

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Some stones seemed to show a root-like structure

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

Some of the Pinnacles reminded me of rotting tree stumps

Pinnacles Desert Nambung National Park

It surprised me how much I enjoyed visiting the Pinnacles as some people had told me they found them hugely disappointing, I didn’t.

I was particularly impressed by their size and the range of shapes and colours. The big question is though, how were they formed?

It is known that the Pinnacles formed underground around 500,000 years ago, and it is thought that they may have been exposed, and reburied several times, and then uncovered some 6,000 years ago, before being covered again and then being finally exposed a few hundred years ago.

The Pinnacles are formed from shell fragments (calcium carbonate) that have been broken down to fine-grained sand. These sands are mixed at the shoreline with quartz-based sands from rivers before being blown inland to the dunes in the region.

One theory is that the Pinnacles were formed by plant roots penetrating the dunes and causing an accumulation of decaying plant and animal remains. These remains, in turn, caused a localised acidification of rainwater that dissolved the calcium carbonate sand (from the seashells) to leave behind the quartz-based sands, and it is this material that formed the Pinnacles.

A second theory is that the Pinnacles are the calcified remains of tree trunks from an ancient forest. The idea is that the living trunks were buried by sand and that as the trunks decayed, they released acids, which dissolved the calcium carbonate in the sand. The calcium carbonate was then re-cemented around the trunks as calcrete (caliche), which effectively created moulds that filled with sand, roots and soil to form the Pinnacles.

There is also a third theory, and that is that both of the above theories are incorrect!

Anyway, no matter how they were formed they are impressive and certainly worth a visit.

FourSquare: The Pinnacles, Western Australia

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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