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Rain falls on Uluru
October 23, 2010 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Rain is falling on Australia's big red heart.

Among the Anangu people (often referred to as the Yankunytjatjara or Pitjantjatjara) , this is the season called Piriyakutu. In a national park known for its desert climate, Uluru covered in water is a rare event, but ever so beautiful.
posted by ninazer0 (56 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite

 
"It has been a 20 year dream to see Uluru with water pouring down her flanks," writes Peter in his blog

Worth it. These pictures are beautiful and amazing.
posted by jeoc at 5:51 PM on October 23, 2010


This is so fucking pretty
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on October 23, 2010


Wow.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:59 PM on October 23, 2010


Wow.
posted by rtha at 6:02 PM on October 23, 2010


amazing. this is one those scenes that if you put it into a 3d modeler no one would believe it.
posted by victors at 6:04 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Talk about being in the right place at the right time. These photos are gold.
posted by empatterson at 6:05 PM on October 23, 2010


These are incredible. This one looks like a fantasy landscape.
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:06 PM on October 23, 2010


is there a religious meaning to this?
posted by PinkMoose at 6:07 PM on October 23, 2010


She's a beaut, alright.
posted by squasha at 6:07 PM on October 23, 2010


Looking at pictures like these inspires a peculiar sort of anthropomorphic reaction in me: I wonder whether we didn't evolve simply to bear witness to the occasionally staggering beauty of entropy.
posted by googly at 6:09 PM on October 23, 2010 [17 favorites]


An Ayers Rock tag might be helpful, as well.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:12 PM on October 23, 2010


Wow.
posted by ardgedee at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2010


is there a religious meaning to this?

Most of us tend to get a bit religious in the face of so much water. Generally, there's either not enough or too damn much.

Thanks, MrMoonPie - tag added!
posted by ninazer0 at 6:41 PM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has it opened yet?
posted by Eideteker at 7:01 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


She's a beaut, alright.

Well, she's more of a monadnock or inselberg technically, and not a batholith, but kind of a butte.

And a damn fine one, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:12 PM on October 23, 2010 [20 favorites]


I wonder whether we didn't evolve simply to bear witness to the occasionally staggering beauty of entropy.

Most days, I think how presumptuous it is of man to think that all this was just put here for our enjoyment, but then I look around me and wonder how could it not be?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:17 PM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was blessed to walk around and through Ularu during early October 2001. It was 39°C (102°F!) and it was life-changing. I would have loved to have been there for this rain.

Small tangent: my then-wife and I were on our honeymoon. We flew out there on September 27th, a bit more than two weeks after 9/11. We were seemingly the very first Americans to arrive outside of Sydney since the attacks. And even then, in the Red Center, 1000 miles from any city with more than 10,000 people... nearing heatstroke, having this grand spiritual experience, we were asked "where were you when the towers fell?" On the other hand, everyone was glad to see an American again, because it meant the tourists would come back. We were asked to spread the word, so I guess that's what I'm doing now. =)
posted by andreaazure at 7:38 PM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


PinkMoose: is there a religious meaning to this?

There is, but it is secret.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:42 PM on October 23, 2010


I don't know if anyone else feels this way but seeing water there relieves a tension that I didn't know I was suffering from.
posted by vapidave at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


Global warming?

/Debbie Downer wah-wah
posted by bardic at 8:08 PM on October 23, 2010


I am hungry for more pictures. What a moving sight.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:15 PM on October 23, 2010



These are incredible. This one looks like a fantasy landscape.


Fishing pool in Nagrand up above the Throne of Elements, watch out for the water elementals.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:20 PM on October 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't know if anyone else feels this way but seeing water there relieves a tension that I didn't know I was suffering from.

I can totally understand that. I feel the same way about dry slot canyons or slick rock. I think part of it is because water erosion is the main reason Uluru and places like Bryce or Zion look the way they do. They've been polished by millions of tons of water.

But when? It's rare to see something like Uluru or Bryce actually inundated with water. And if you're in a flooded slot canyon you're probably in a potentially lethal amount of trouble.
posted by loquacious at 8:51 PM on October 23, 2010


I love how there's all these little channels, just waiting for the rain
posted by leotrotsky at 9:12 PM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn, Mother Nature is awesome.
posted by pointystick at 9:29 PM on October 23, 2010


Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib!
posted by XMLicious at 10:34 PM on October 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


That is so gorgeous!
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:40 PM on October 23, 2010


Slowly grinding it away. According to the linked Wikipedia article, it's a remnant of a mountain range that eventually was ground away, probably mostly by rain like this.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 PM on October 23, 2010


The photographer talks about this a bit more in his blog.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:56 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a silly pet theory that man originated at Uluru, and not in Africa at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most of the sources I've read suggest that Uluru is the exposed top of a very large rock formation which extends five or six km underground, like a sort of desert iceberg.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:08 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


woo neat
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:22 PM on October 23, 2010


In the blog entry he talks about the sound of frogs.. It's what blows me away when it rains in the desert. Depending on where you are thousands and thousands of one of these two species will come out of the ground within minutes of it getting wet, stay only till it starts to dry, and then be gone again, sometimes for years.
posted by Ahab at 11:53 PM on October 23, 2010


Or maybe more than two species.
posted by Ahab at 11:59 PM on October 23, 2010


perhaps three or four fussy but particularly honest fish originated there hence your pet theory isn't so silly.
                 |
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               ,\|/.
             ,' .V. `.
            / .     . \
           /_`       '_\
          ,' .:     ;, `.
          |@)|  . .  |(@|
     ,-._ `._';  .  :`_,' _,-.
    '--  `-\ /,-===-.\ /-'  --`
   (----  _|  ||___||  |_  ----)
    `._,-'  \  `-.-'  /  `-._,'
             `-.___,-' 

blub blub - Don't hook me bro - blub

desert iceberg - well done.
posted by vapidave at 12:06 AM on October 24, 2010


Wow, that's cool. Primordial shape of the place, reminds me of elephant bodies.

Uluru weather.

Uluru, Rain, Clouds, Waterfalls, Cows, a Dingo and Some Camels
posted by nickyskye at 12:24 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you. There's something about pictures like these that really lifts the heart.
posted by bardophile at 1:05 AM on October 24, 2010


There are also shrimp that live on top of the rock after rain.
posted by Ahab at 1:31 AM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm from Australia, but have mostly been around the east coast, and never seen Uluru. I was under the impression that it was surrounded by an expanse of featureless desert, 180 degrees of nothing. Seeing it surrounded by trees and grass was a surprise.
posted by acb at 2:44 AM on October 24, 2010


I'm fairly certain Uluru is the Omphalos.
posted by Jilder at 2:58 AM on October 24, 2010


Looking at pictures like these inspires a peculiar sort of anthropomorphic reaction in me: I wonder whether we didn't evolve simply to bear witness to the occasionally staggering beauty of entropy.

Was going to comment how it reminded me of my dad's comb-over but I like what you said better.
posted by hal9k at 4:39 AM on October 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the Aboriginal seasons too. The one for the south-west seems much better suited to what really happens than the standard European spring/summer/winter/autumn categories.
posted by harriet vane at 5:20 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those of you that enjoy inselbergs like Uluru would do well to visit what rates for me as the most underrated landmark in all of Australia (that I've found so far) - Ucontitchie. It's a beautiful inselberg in the South Australian countryside. It's located on a private property (a sheep station, I think) but is free to visit at any time, and is almost always completely deserted!

It is truly an inspiring place, and you're almost certain to have it all to yourself (it apparently receives about 300 visitors a year).

Anyone planning a trip around Australia should definitely visit Ucontitchie. It was one of my highlights (as were the calving Southern Right Whales that I watched frolicking off the coast only days later from the awe-inspiring cliffs of the Great Australian Bight).
posted by autocol at 5:40 AM on October 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Over here, we're pretty fond of our batholith.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:52 AM on October 24, 2010




Does this mean stunning wildflowers coming soon? In the desert southwest of the USA, that would definitely be the implication, but I don't know anything about Oz.
posted by richyoung at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2010


Wow. Goosebumps.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:05 AM on October 24, 2010


Effin awesome.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:50 AM on October 24, 2010


Oh my god. Maybe it's just the weird mood I'm in this morning, but like...I just got teary looking at that. Sublime.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:15 PM on October 24, 2010


I was under the impression that it was surrounded by an expanse of featureless desert, 180 degrees of nothing. Seeing it surrounded by trees and grass was a surprise.

Very few Australian deserts are the sand-dunes-to-the-horizon type, acb. There's always a bit of mulga (Acacia aneura) and grasses around. And it's amazing how a foggy, overcast day can make a desert look like some kind of lush prairie.
posted by Jimbob at 1:09 PM on October 24, 2010


Wonderful photos.
posted by arnicae at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2010


Does this mean stunning wildflowers coming soon? In the desert southwest of the USA, that would definitely be the implication, but I don't know anything about Oz.

Pretty much the same thing happens in Australia, except the flowers shoot thorns that are horribly, horribly poisonous.
posted by Ritchie at 4:19 PM on October 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


richyoung, indeed. In fact, mad max 4 has had to be delayed because it's too pretty out there right now. As for our ephemeral desert wildflowers, take a look.
posted by wilful at 5:04 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know wilful means it's pretty everywhere in the Outback right now, but just so people don't wonder why they can't see Uluru in the background when Mad Max IV comes out:

It's over 1,000 miles from Uluru to Broken Hill. That's about the same as Dallas, TX to Columbus OH.
posted by GeckoDundee at 8:21 PM on October 24, 2010


Rain in dry places is an odd, all-wrong feeling I first recall experiencing in Kalahari desert about twenty years ago. Beautiful though.
posted by mdoar at 10:51 AM on October 25, 2010


I visited Uluru just about a year ago. It was dry then, but our tour guide told us about these rains. My friends and I walked the 6mile track around the base. (The local people would prefer you don't climb it for many reasons.) Even in the dry weather, the vegetation was stunning. As acb put it, I expected this monolith to rise out of a completely flat and featureless desert. But it's not like that at all. Trees and bushes and green! Green all the way to the Olgas! It was pretty amazing, and I can only imagine what it's going to look like after the rain...
posted by web-goddess at 3:40 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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