Thursday, 8 November 2007

Geo Blogs learned something new....

In the spirit of 'you learn something new every day' or indeed several new things if you are following Mark, here is the first new thing I learned today....... This bay on the south west coast of Australia at the point where Mark turned inland to cut across the south west tip of the continent is called Geographe bay (French for 'geographer', hence the appeal!) The bay was named in May 1801 by French explorer Nicolas Baudin ; Baudin named the bay after his ship, Le GĂ©ographe. The view below looks south along the bay to the headland at its southern end. I was also intrigued to read on the web diary tonight that Mark encountered unexpected hills as he cycled inland from Bunbury on the coast. A bit of research has revealed the reason. He has ascended a feature known as the Darling Scarp - a geological boundary between the very ancient plateau which forms most of Western Australia and the coastal plain. Thus, it is essentially the western edge of the plateau where it descends to the coastal plain. It is a linear feature extending about 1000kms north to south and parallel to the west coast. On the aerial photo it is marked by the extensive forests of Jarrah (a kind of eucalyptus)which cover it.

It would appear that the Darling Scarp always presented a major physical obstacle to exploration of the interior by coastal settlers so it is not surprising that Mark found crossing it was tough! And here is a view taken very close to the area Mark was cycling in today....Today most economic activity on the scarp revolves around forestry, stone quarrying (a type of granite) and bauxite mining.

One other comment on the web diary today which caught my attention was the reference to a head wind. Apparently an east wind in this area is not uncommon as according to Wikipedia .... In traditionally hot summers, strong easterly winds travelling across the scarp have presented serious issues for planes using the Perth airport due to the alignment of the runways.

I am about to head off to the Yorkshire Dales with some budding 'geographes' for a couple of days and will be without an Internet connection. However, I hope normal service will be resumed on Sunday evening, by which time Mark will be heading east along the coast.

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