How Were the Blue Mountains Formed?

The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are located a short drive from Australia’s largest city, Sydney. It is a huge expansion of land, reaching 11,400 km in size and more than 470 million years old. It is home to a range of astonishing mountains, rock formations, deep canyons, lush forest land, as well as stunning waterfalls. But how did this remarkable area form?

Back millions of years ago, the sea covered the entire area. During this time, large amounts of sediment dropped into the water, covering the sea floor. Over time, these sediments compressed into sandstone and shale, transforming them into hard rocks. Once the sea levels lowered, the rocks became moulded by the river water and wind. Episodes of volcanism also affected the shape of the range, as around 200 million years ago lava flowed into the cracks of the sandstone and shale.

The outcome is a range full of spectacular mountains, deep canyons, ancient forest land, and sandstone creations. Some of these captivating creations hold amazing stories behind them and are well worth the visit.

The Three Sisters

The famous rock formation the three sisters is one most visited sight in the Blue Mountains. Despite the scientific reasoning for these formations, the Australian aboriginal’s Dreamtime story offers a completely different explanation. The story surrounds three beautiful sisters who started a war between two tribes. The three girls fell in love with three brothers from a neighbouring tribe, and due to the forbidden nature of marrying outside your own tribe, a ranging battle ensured. A witchdoctor transformed three sisters into rocks to saved them from a raging war. Unfortunately, the witchdoctor was killed in battle, and unable to reverse the spell, resulting in the tragic tale of the three sisters forever being rocked.

The Wollemi Pine

A famous canyon within the Blue Mountains holds a remarkable discovery, the Wollemi pine. Due to the canyon’s concealment, the forest area is hidden from the outside world effects. The Wollemi pine is a living fossil, equal to finding a living dinosaur nowadays, as the tree is a prehistoric plant which has survived the ravages of time.

The ‘Blue’ in the Blue Mountains

You may be wondering why these mountains are named blue, but the formation of these rocks has nothing to do with the name. Instead, the reason is due to the forest and type of plants that cover the mountains. The eucalyptus tree, also known as the gum tree, admit eucalyptus oil when basking in the sunlight. This oil mist reflects the light, and thus creates a blue haze within the area. From Sydney, this haze covers the entire range, resulting in the mountains to look blue from afar.

The Blue Mountains are a spectacular place full of unforgettable sights to see. It is perfect for a day trip out of the hustle and bustle of the Sydney to marvel at the natural wonders Australia has to offer. Pack your camera and walking shoes and adventure out into this incredible mountain range.

Check out our Blue Mountains Tour today!

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