When we see Uluru for the first time, it’s totally safe to ask yourself: is that rock the largest one in the world? Uluru, also known as the Ayers Rock is just a massive red rock in the middle of nowhere. It’s taller than the Eiffel Tower, 3 km-long, and 2 km-wide. It is definitely a huge rock. But, is Uluru the biggest rock in the world?
Uluru is not the biggest rock in the world. Mount Augustus is in fact the largest rock in the world. Located in Western Australia, this rock is almost three times larger than Uluru. Good try Uluru, but you gotta keep growing!
What is the biggest rock in the world?
As answered just before, the biggest rock in the world is Mount Augustus, located in Western Australia. That rock looks very similar to Uluru, and it’s funny to see that both Uluru and Mount Augustus land in Australia, showing that something definitely happened in the area. We will get back to what happened later in the article. First, let’s learn more about the biggest rock in the world.
Where is Mount Augustus?
Contrarily to what we think, Mount Augustus is not “even more lost in the middle of nowhere” than Uluru. Indeed, whereas Uluru is located right in the middle of Australia, and is hardly accessible, Mount Augustus is much closer to the coast. To be precise, it is 400 km away from the west coast, and you must drive around 8 hours to access it if you start driving from the coast. On the following screenshot taken on Google Maps, you will see where Mount Augustus is located.
The biggest rock in the world does look relatively close to the coast on that screenshot. But we should remember that Australia is a huge continent and that it takes more than an entire day to cross it from East to West. In fact, it takes around three days to drive from Perth to Melbourne. Now that we have this piece of data in our mind, we can realize how huge Australia is, and how far Mount Augustus is from the coast!
Can you visit Mount Augustus?
Those statistics may have sparked your interest: a 1,105 meters-high rock spanning over 92 square kilometers? I must see that. And you can! Just like Uluru, Mount Augustus is part of a National Park, meaning that there are some hiking roads, and indicated paths in the area. There are also locals tribes living in the area, just like around Uluru, so I will ask you to travel as responsibly as possible in the area.
Why do people think Uluru is the biggest rock in the world?
People tend to think that Uluru is the biggest rock in the world. We will understand here why. First, because of the place the rock stands. Indeed, Uluru is right in the middle of nowhere. So, if that is not the biggest rock, then where is the biggest one? Even if there are some other rocks in the area, like Kata Tjuta for example, those rocks are definitely smaller.
But the second reason is really the one why people firmly believe that about Uluru. It is about the classifications of rocks. I found that piece of information during my research on a specialized website that sells tours in Australia. Here is what is said about the difference between Uluru and Mount Augustus:
The defining difference between the two formations is their designation as a monolith. Uluru is the world’s largest single rock monolith. That is to say, there is no other single rock formation as large as Uluru. Mount Augustus, on the other hand, contains a variety of rock types. Therefore, it cannot take the title of the largest monolith from Uluru. Who would have thought that rocks could be so competitive!
Despite Mount Augustus dwarfing Uluru that shouldn’t take away from its incredible size and stature.This is what we can read about the difference between Uluru and Mount Augustus on this Australian website.
This could be a little confusing, but to make it clear, here is what it means. Uluru is a single rock, made of the same material everywhere. On the other hand, Mount Augustus is made of different parts. The thing is a rock can contain several parts. Hence, Mount Augustus is the biggest rock in the world. But, if we are talking about single rock monoliths, then Uluru wins the award.
How did Uluru form?
Now that we learned about the sizes of the biggest rocks in the world, and that we clearly understood why Uluru wasn’t the winner of this contest, we can still ask ourselves how was that incredible rock formed. This is what the last part of this article will focus on. But first, let’s make sure we all know where Uluru is.
Where is Uluru?
Uluru is much more in the middle of nowhere than Mount Augustus. In fact, it is right in the middle of Australia. Once again, I took a screenshot on Google Maps to help you visualize where Uluru really stands.
The geomorphology of Uluru
Geomorphology? Right, I’m using some weird words to impress you. Geomorphology is in the middle of geology and Earth movements. It will explain geological formations thanks to every piece of information we own. Indeed, Uluru is not only there because of its material, it was mostly created by the Earth movements. This is where geomorphology shines. For that part, I read an incredible article called “Geomorphology of Uluru” written by Ken Patrick from Cedarville University. This scientist describes Uluru as an inselberg (a rocky iceberg) because there is a lot more to see under the ground! In fact, we do not see a lot of Uluru at all, and we know that the rock is around 2,5 km tall (remember that we only see 350 meters).
Since I did not want to enter too much into the scientific details of the formation of Uluru when I first started this article, I kept looking for an easy way to transmit knowledge. It turns out that I found an incredible video explaining you exactly of Uluru was formed.
It is only five minutes long and it explains perfectly Uluru’s origins. If you do not want to watch the whole five minutes, start the video at 2 minutes and 9 seconds. This is where you will get all the information you want about Uluru’s formation.
I hope that this article was helpful and that you learned everything you wanted to about the biggest rock in the world, and also about Uluru itself!