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we have good baseline data on the long term natural erosion rate of the rocks."
THE WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION of rock art is found at the Burrup Peninsula in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Two new studies argue that it may not be as much at risk from weathering or industry as some experts had feared, but not everyone agrees with the findings.
"So far we have seen no change whatsoever," says Dr Erick Ramanaidou, a CSIRO earth scientist and leader of a five year study on the effects of industry. The team from CSIRO and Murdoch University, in Perth, studied colour changes in the rock using a variety of scientific equipment and also tested the mineral and chemical composition of eight different rock art sites.
the long term rate of natural surface erosion.
Ken Mulvaney, an archaeologist who works for Rio Tinto and who has studied the area, says that one of the reasons there is so much rock art is because of the low natural weathering rate of the rock. "As recognised through the National Listing, the area is of immense cultural and scientific value," he says.
Nearly one million engravings are thought to be carved into the hard rock surfaces at many different sites across the peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago of islands. The peninsula itself was the largest of these islands until industrial activity joined it to the mainland in the 1960s.
The engravings, called petroglyphs, depict animals such as kangaroos, birds, fish and reptiles as well as human figures and faces and geometrical patterns, and may be more than 10,000 years old.
However Robert Bednarik, President of the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations Palladium Boots Kid disagrees with the new findings and says that his own studies of the colour of the rocks show that damage is occurring. He says that emissions from nearby industry increase acidity in the atmosphere causing acid rain, which is damaging the iron oxide coating through which the petroglyphs were carved."Any acidic precipitation tends to destroy Palladium Shoes Orange
Risks to major rock art site debated
A second study, partly funded by Woodside Energy, which operates a gas plant in the area, measured Palladium Shoes Pictures
The levels of emissions of air pollutants in the area were low and did not appear to be affecting the rock art, Erick told Australian Geographic. "This is a very clean place even with the industry."
iron deposits," he says. "My view is that the acidity [on the rocks] is [similar to] lemon juice. To expect iron coatings to survive that for a long time is optimistic."
"If you are going to look at human impact you need to know the baseline," he told Australian Geographic. "The bottom line is Cheap Ralph Lauren Shoes Size 7
Robert described this as "balderdash", adding that the longevity of "the rock art depends entirely on the survival of the iron coating."
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