Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Tower Hill

Tower Hill erupted about 32,000 million* years ago (give or take). When magma encountered water in the overlying rock, the superheated steam exploded, creating a shallow crater. (It must have been a hell of a shock for the Koroitgundidj people living there at the time.) Subsequent eruptions produced a series of low hills, which are now islands in Tower Hill Lake.

A narrow road passes a grey wall of tuff — volcanic ash — that gives an idea of how active the volcano must have been in its glory days. It doesn't do much anymore.

Although declared a national park in 1892, the crater was scoured by farming and quarrying. Within a few decades, it was almost devoid of native flora. When the state government began to revegetate the area, they had to refer to Eugene von Guerard's 1855 painting "View of Tower Hill" for an idea of its original condition. Extensive planting has encouraged the birds to return. Iconic fauna abounds — including emus.

Not so iconic fauna is also abundant. These fussy Theba pisana ignored all the other posts. This one must have had the best view.

Tower Hill is about 275 km SW of Melbourne, between the coastal towns of Warrnambool and Port Fairy. I'm planning to head down there again soon on a day trip.


* Not surprisingly, that 'million' is a typo. No idea where it came from. Sorry for the confusion!



There were people there 32 million years ago?!

Snail said...

Oh, what a twit I am! It's 32,000 years ago. Where did that million come in. I'm moving it now!