The Northern Territory of Australia
The Northern Territory of Australia dominates the center of this image acquired on November 26, 2005. The capital, Darwin, is located at the top of the image and is connected to Alice Springs, one of the territory’s few population centers, by the Stuart Highway, running North-South almost at the center of the image. Perhaps the most recognizable feature in this image is Uluru, or Ayers Rock, a very large sandstone outcrop located in the bottom center of the image. This world-famous red rock formation reaches a height of about 348 meters (1,142 feet), a length of 3.6 kilometers (2.2 miles), and 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles) around. Almost a billion years ago, the area around Uluru was a shallow sea; sediment sank to the bottom and hardened into sandstone, sprinkled with feldspar. About half a billion years ago, the region was uplifted by tectonic activity and tilted about 90 degrees. The softer rocks surrounding what is now Uluru eroded through wind and water, leaving the harder rock “sculpted” as we see it today. This region is also home to the world’s largest known deposit of uranium, located in the East Alligator River area.