Across the continent by train

One thing you can’t help noticing when you cross Australia on the Ghan between Darwin and Adelaide or when travelling on the Indian-Pacific from Perth to Sydney is just how flat the country is. On the former journey you do pass through Simpsons Gap and travel quite close to the Flinders Ranges but they are only remnants of much bigger mountains that formed so long ago in the past. The same is true of the Barrier Range at Broken Hill where the Indian Pacific diesel engines have little reason to puff.
Our landscape is old, very old and worn, with only the Blue Mountains close into Sydney causing the trains to make a real climb of some significance as they wind through the sandstone ranges.

The sandstones of the Blue Mountains are younger than most rocks in our continent but its still at least 180 million years since the rocks were first deposited as sediments before being crumpled up into ranges.
It is difficult to grasp the extent of Geological history and to realize that most of the rocks in the landforms of the Australian continent were over 100 million years old before the mountain building of the Himalayas, the European Alps or the America Rockies occurred. And when you know where to look there are fossil remains in our decaying hills that go back to the dawn of life when our land was still part of a supercontinent in the northern hemisphere.
So much is incredible about our Planet Earth and we are fortunate that Geologists, Palaentologists and Climatologists have unravelled the story for us. But as the passengers look out the train window I wonder how many appreciate what they are seeing. It is not just a flat boring landscape.  There is much to wonder about.

About rpsimson1936

Retired geography and outdoor education teacher who loves orienteering and writes novels.
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