Text by GEOFF VIVIAN
TWO Australian National University researchers have used a high-tech isotopic method to estimate the potential age of the Burrup Peninsula’s rock art, based on the rate at which the rock surface erodes.
“Our measurements indicated that some of the surface erosion rates at the Burrup are amongst the lowest in Australia and indeed the world”—Prof Pillans. Image: Paul Williams
Geologist Professor Brad Pillans and nuclear physicist Professor Keith Fifield employed cosmogenic radionuclide measurements of the isotope beryllium-10 on rock surfaces at the world-famous Pilbara site.
They concluded that the oldest carvings could be 20- 30,000 years old, or even older, which implies they were possibly made when the site was a range of low hills about 100km inland from the glacial-period coastline. Continue reading
TEXT BY GEOFF VIVIAN
MORE than a billion years ago two tectonic plates collided and fused to form a continent.
From The Great Southern Weekender, March 19, 2015 p5
They also formed a mountain range whose worn-down remnants stretch across most of southern Western Australia.
Gold and nickel has been found at one end of the former mountain range, and a small company has bought leases near the other extremity in the hope of finding payable nickel and copper.
The Weekender, March 19, 2015 p5.
According to Bloomberg the Managing Director left the company soon after this interview.
Owing to a change in format this is my first front page for three years – we had a single pic on the front page up until last week.
Anyhow please excuse me this indulgence – it is just a press release with an interview added, not original research. Continue reading
Queensland has a “new” species of bandicoot.
Courtesy Queensland Museum.
After carefully examining about 100 specimens’ teeth and skulls in six museum collections Kenny Travouillon realised the northern long-nosed bandicoot was a separate species and may require more effort to conserve it.
Dr Travouillon says not every museum in Australia has a mammals curator, and many research collections in museums are not being worked on.
Science Network WA [read this story]
A formerly “threatened” species has been reclassified “vulnerable” as the birds start to repopulate the East Kimberley.
Photo by Martin Pot
Two scientists, Sarah Pryke and Sarah Legge, have worked hard to identify the Gouldian Finches’ ideal habitats and feed, and a third, Alex Watson, is working with Kija Rangers to re-establish them.
The method depends on mimicking the effects of the traditional Aboriginal mosaic burning practices using modern technology.
As the website Science Network WA is now defunct I have reproduced the story here: Continue reading
If you catch a protected fish – in this case a large shark – you are supposed to let it go as soon as possible.
But what if you take a photograph of it first?
Anglers do this, and so for that matter do people studying fish. Continue reading
Courtesy Sora Estrella.
Can a large-scale industrial development benefit endangered and threatened species, such as certain migrating shore birds?
It seems Dampier Salt’s Pilbara operations are providing an important diet supplement to birds like the Red Knot, Great Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit.
Science Network [read this story]
Science Network WA has ceased publication so I have copied the story here: Continue reading
I was lucky enough to interview one of the scientists who have a new take on Bunbury’s weird black rocks.
(c) WA Museum.
They were formed when India broke away from the West Australian coast 137 million years ago.
What we see in Bunbury and Capel is part of a huge lava flow almost as large as Western Australia itself that comes from Gondwana breaking up.
Most of it is now under the waters of the Indian Ocean.
As the website sciencewa.net.au is now defunct I have reproduced the story here:
The Kimberley has a new seed bank that will function as a seed shop for bush tucker (Aboriginal food) plants, and for those needing to propogate plants for mine site rehabilitation and gardening.
Tamara Williams (Nyul Nyul Rangers), Cat Williams (Apace WA), Devena Cox (Nyul Nyul Rangers), Debbie Sibasado (Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers), Kylie Weatherall (Environs Kimberley) and Cissy Tigan (Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers).
It is also intended to be a supplier to high-end restaurants serving Aboriginal food-influenced dishes.
It also has a serious conservation purpose in preserving rare species for ecological renewall.
This may become important when, for example, rare Kimberley vine thickets are destroyed by bushfires.
Science Network [read this story]
TEXT AND PICTURE BY GEOFF VIVIAN
Having just been through the disatrous bushfires at Yarloop and Wooroona and the catastrophic Esperance fire, many Western Australians are demanding to know what is being done.
Click on this image to read the story.
I would not usually go into such detail about fire control in a local paper but my editor agreed that people were in the mood to read this right now.
All through winter a prescribed burning program is reducing fuel loads in areas of bush, while giving wildlife a reasonable chance to escape to nearby intact habitat.
This is an account of a well-planned burn, how it worked and why.
I was really pleased with the pic too – nothing flash but I trust it conveyed the idea of “business as usual” burning rather than firefighting.
Great Southern Weekender April 7, 2016 p5.