The objective of this field work was to collect about twenty seismic instruments, originally installed by my colleague Anya Reading, which were recording ground motion of distant earthquakes for almost one year. Apart from being very remote, Western Australia encompasses vast areas that are home to some of the oldest rocks on the planet. In terms of seismic experiments and data quality, this is one of the quietest area on the planet and should allow us to get a unique insight in the Earth lithosphere. The age of some rocks found in the Pilbara Craton reach 3.8 billion years. In a way, it was like stepping on a giant fossil. Four of us flew to Perth from Canberra, and from there we moved toward the north (Highway 94) with two 4-wheel-drive vehicles. The entire road trip loop was about 5500 km long and the journey lasted 14 days. It was my first outback experience, exciting, and not extremely easy to endure. The heat and flies were just some of the challenges. The landscapes were fantastic, as well as the indigenous flora and fauna. I was particularly fascinated by the people, who call this remote and almost unreal world, home. The redness, the landscapes dominated by termite mounds, the petroglyphs and the full moon rising above Mount Augustus are some of the images of this beautiful and ancient world that will forever stay carved in my memory.

The outback in the vicinity of Meekatharra, Western Australia

The trees that were following us through the Swan Valley gradually became shorter and shorter...until they turned into bush.

Termites are the outback architects. The mounds are mostly made of soil (iron oxidized), spinifex grass and the termite saliva.

Water crossing near the Telfer Gold Mine road

After the examination, the first vehicle crosses

Our vehicle's turn now

We camped at the Nullagine Gorge, with probably no other human being in the radius of 100 km

This giant mine haul vehicle is an example of some of the largest in the world and can reach 400 tons.

A modest accommodation in Marble Bar in dusk. Marble Bar is known as the hottest spot in Australia. Needless to say, we tried to avoid that time of year, but were not very far from boiling either.

Near Mount Augustus. The perimeter of this giant red monolith is about 30 km. We rescued three Italian teenage tourists from the mountain the previous night. I am wondering if there is any coincidence in the fact that we had a 30 dollar plate of Spaghetti Bolognaise, the "take it or leave it" dish on the menu in the visitor centre that evening.

On the road near Meekatharra (looks like it was pancaked by one of the vehicles shown on the left)

Gums trees by a river near Marble Bar. Looks can be deceiving - not only the temperature was once 55 C, but on another occasion, the temperature was not falling under 40 C for 70 days in a row!

The youngsters went hiking and got lost. There were no other people at the Mount Augustus visitor centre. The closest ranger station was several hundred km away. Luckily, quite unexpected rescuers were there at about 2AM. I don't have to say how happy everybody was.
Here, the night falls on the outback near Mount Augustus.

Somewhere on the Pilbara Craton

A panorama

A long road home

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