Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pagoda Rock Daisy at Lithgow

There are just a very few plants which are so specialised that they live only on the rocky crags (known as "Pagodas") in the far western edge of the Blue Mountains.
This story is about one of them. Leucochrysum graminifolium.

Some of the RiversSOS members exploring the Pagodas.
So when I saw these bright yellow daisies growing on top of one of these rocky "Pagodas" I asked about it, and was told it is the Pagoda Rock Daisy". Perfect name for it.

It is listed as a ROTAP species (rare or threatened plant), but it is not on the Threatened Species lists, unfortunately. In my view it ought to be.

Here is a platform on the rock formation,
with these plants growing in shallow sand.
I am looking down from a higher rock ledge.
Here is another view, looking out over a projecting ledge.
There is a small cliff gap beyond the last group of flowers.
OK - so what's the problem?
You're always telling us about Problems, right?

Well here it is.
The entire plateau is cracked by
Longwall coal mining underneath it.

Do you see the two parallel cracks?
That wasn't a crack!

Coal Mining underneath cliff lines causes cracking like that.
It can also lead to major cliff-line collapses.
That cliff is half a kilometre away, across a valley.
The Baal Bone Colliery is underneath that cliff
and also under the plateau we were on.


What that does not tell you
is that the colliery is owned by
A huge and powerful Swiss-based Mining conglomerate.

Do you think
their Directors in Zug, Switzerland care
about the damage
their mining operations cause in Lithgow, NSW?

This shot shows how intricate these Pagodas are.
They are wonderfully weathered natural structures.
The horizontal cracking and weathering is natural.
That weathering simply reveals the natural rock strata
laid down some 200 to 250 million years ago
(give or take a few million).

These Pagodas are classed as
Narrabeen Group Sandstone
regarded as having been laid down in the Triassic Period.


But this cracking is not natural.
This is damage caused by Longwall Mining.

Click to enlarge image.
It is a composite image made with two shots.
As these plants were growing on top of this damaged Pagoda
one can see the threat which exists.

And in a few more years?
Who knows that whole cliff-face might peel off,
just like the matching cliff line across the valley?


mick said...

Amazing rock formations and a beautiful little daisy. Very disturbing about the cracks caused by the mining and even more disturbing that they are just allowed to get away with it. Another example of how out society only values what has a dollar value!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Agree entirely about the lack of interest in "valuing Nature".
You would be well aware of that, living in Queensland, and watching your coastline being trashed.
Incidentally, I really like the picture of a "creature from the Blue Lagoon" climbing back up out of the mini-canyon. It was so wet, we were all covered up somehow or another, and that person was totally hooded over. No idea, who or even if male or female. Just a "figure" looming up out of the gloom. I should have commented in the text. I find it funny. But ti is a distraction from the "issue" I was posting about.

Le Loup said...

A very interesting post, thank you.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks for reading, Le Loup.