“Trippy cliffs from the Triassic Period”
The geology of Maria Island is of great interest as it contains features from many geological ages. The sandstones of the Painted Cliffs is one such feature, from the Triassic period, when the first dinosaurs appeared on earth. Although this sort of rock formation is not uncommon, it is rare in a natural situation for it to be so extensively and beautifully exposed. The wonderful patterns are caused by groundwater percolating down through the already formed sandstone and leaving traces of iron oxides, which have stained the rock formation. This probably occurred millions of years ago in a monsoonal climate. More recently, sea spray hitting the rock face has dried, forming crystals of salt. These crystals cause the rock to weather in the honeycomb patterns that you see. Wave action has also created some interesting features. Rock fragments moved around by the water have gradually worn small potholes and notches into the cliff face, eventually resulting in the undercutting of the cliff. This is a continual process and as you walk further along you can see how quite recently the cliff top has collapsed, plunging sandstone blocks and she-oaks down to the sea. This is a very fragile environment so please do not walk on the cliffs or scratch the formation.
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Painted Cliffs Walk
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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