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The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a
mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, us ...

mountain range
and an interim Australian
bioregion A bioregion is an ecologically Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics of int ...
located in southern
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
and has an area of .IBRA Version 6.1
data
The range is a long series of mountains in central
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, consisting of parallel ridges running to the east and west of
Alice Springs Alice Springs ( aer, Mparntwe) is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the central a ...

Alice Springs
. The mountain range contains many spectacular gaps and gorges as well as areas of
Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aboriginal Australians ****Australian Aboriginal identity ...
significance. The ranges were named after Sir
Richard MacDonnell
Richard MacDonnell
(the
Governor of South Australia The governor of South Australia is the representative in the Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian contin ...
at the time) by
John McDouall Stuart John McDouall Stuart (7 September 18155 June 1866), often referred to as simply "McDouall Stuart", was a Scottish explorer and one of the most accomplished of all Australia's inland explorers. Stuart led the first successful expedition to tra ...

John McDouall Stuart
, whose 1860 expedition reached them in April of that year. The Horn Expedition investigated the ranges as part of the scientific expedition into central Australia. Other explorers of the range included David Lindsay and John Ross. The MacDonnell Ranges were often depicted in the paintings of
Albert Namatjira Albert Namatjira (born Elea Namatjira; 28 July 1902 – 8 August 1959) was an Aboriginal artist from the MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioreg ...
.


Geography

The highest peaks are
Mount Zeil Mount is often used as part of the name of specific mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited sum ...
with an elevation of AHD,
Mount Liebig Mount Liebig is a mountain with an elevation of in the southern part of the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the ...
at AHD, Mount Edward at ,
Mount Giles :''See also Mount Giles (Antarctica)'' Mount Giles is one of the highest mountains in the Northern Territory, Australia, at . It lies along the MacDonnell Ranges, dominating Ormiston Pound, in the West MacDonnell National Park, approximately we ...
at and
Mount Sonder Mount Sonder, or ''Rwetyepme'', its Aboriginal name, is the fourth highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau ...
at AHD; the five highest mountains in the Northern Territory. The
headwaters The headwaters of a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course witho ...

headwaters
of the
Todd Todd or Todds may refer to: Places ;Australia: *Todd River, an ephemeral river ;United States: *Todd, California *Todd, Missouri *Todd, North Carolina *Todd County, Kentucky *Todd County, Minnesota *Todd County, South Dakota *Todd Fork, a river ...
,
Finke
Finke
and Sandover rivers form in the MacDonnell Ranges. The range is crossed by the
Australian Overland Telegraph Line The Australian Overland Telegraph Line was a telegraphy, telegraph line that connected Darwin, Northern Territory, Darwin with Port Augusta, South Australia, Port Augusta in South Australia. Completed in 1872, the Overland Telegraph Line allowe ...
and the
Stuart Highway Stuart Highway is one of Australia's major highways. It runs from Darwin, Northern Territory, Darwin, in the Northern Territory, via Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, to Port Augusta in South Australia; a distance of . Its northern and southern ...

Stuart Highway
at the
Heavitree Gap The Heavitree Gap, or ''Ntaripe'' in the Arrernte language, is a water gap in the Northern Territory of Australia in the MacDonnell Ranges. It is the southern entrance to the city of Alice Springs and in addition to the Todd River it carries the ...
, a
water gap A water gap is a gap that flowing water has carved through a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with si ...
created by the Todd River, at the southern entrance to Alice Springs.


Geology

300-350 million years ago a mountain building event created the MacDonnell Ranges. Since that time, folding, faulting and erosion have shaped the range and created numerous gaps and gorges. The ranges are composed of many rock types, but are most famous for their red
quartzite Quartzite is a hard, non-Foliation (geology), foliated metamorphic rock which was originally pure quartz sandstone.Essentials of Geology, 3rd Edition, Stephen Marshak, p 182 Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usu ...

quartzite
peaks and gorges. Other rock types include
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
,
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
,
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic ' ...

sandstone
and
siltstone Siltstone, also known as aleurolite, is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magne ...
. Some of the valleys of the range contain fossil evidence of the Inland sea (geology), inland sea that once covered central Australia.


Ecology

Part of the Central Ranges xeric scrub ecoregion of dry scrubby grassland, the ranges are home to a large number of endemic species that includes the centralian tree frog ''Litoria gilleni''. This is mostly due to the micro climates that are found around the cold rock pools.


Tourist attractions

The West MacDonnell National Park was established in 1984 to protect the numerous parks and reserves of the range, including internal residents inside the range. It also facilitated the development of the Larapinta Trail. To the east of Alice Springs, within an hour's drive, are sites important to the local Arrernte people, many of which contain examples of Aboriginal rock art. These include Emily Gap, Jessie Gap, Trephina Gorge and N’Dhala Gorge. To the west of Alice Springs is the Larapinta Trail—a world-class, long distance bush walking trail that runs along the backbone of the range. Along the trail are Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits, Ormiston Pound, Redbank Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge, Gosses Bluff crater, Tnorala Gosse Bluff, Palm Valley, Northern Territory, Palm Valley,
Mount Sonder Mount Sonder, or ''Rwetyepme'', its Aboriginal name, is the fourth highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau ...
,
Mount Zeil Mount is often used as part of the name of specific mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited sum ...
and
Mount Giles :''See also Mount Giles (Antarctica)'' Mount Giles is one of the highest mountains in the Northern Territory, Australia, at . It lies along the MacDonnell Ranges, dominating Ormiston Pound, in the West MacDonnell National Park, approximately we ...
.


Gallery

File:West MacDonnell National Park.JPG, From the Larapinta Trail near Glen Helen File:Ellery_Creek.jpg, Ellery Creek Big Hole File:A221, West MacDonnell National Park, Australia, Ellery Creek reflects River Red Gum trees, 2007.jpg, Ellery Creek and Eucalyptus camaldulensis, river red gum trees File:Ochre Pits.jpg, Ochre pits File:Simpsons Gap.jpg, Simpsons Gap File:A160, West MacDonnell National Park, Australia, Serpentine Gorge, 2007.JPG, Serpentine Gorge


See also

* Geography of Australia * List of mountains in Australia * Pine Gap * Western Arrernte * N'Dhala Gorge Nature Park *
Heavitree Gap The Heavitree Gap, or ''Ntaripe'' in the Arrernte language, is a water gap in the Northern Territory of Australia in the MacDonnell Ranges. It is the southern entrance to the city of Alice Springs and in addition to the Todd River it carries the ...


References


External links


Arrernte art
{{DEFAULTSORT:Macdonnell Ranges IBRA regions Mountain ranges of the Northern Territory Biogeography of the Northern Territory