PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Silhouette of Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory, Australia. This famous landmark is an example of an inselberg, a steep sided round- topped mound, generally of granite or gneiss, which occurs in isolation, or as one of a group, rising above a flat plain of eroded bedrock. The form of Ayers Rock is due to a process known as onion-skin weathering; chemical actions combine with the daily cycle of heating and cooling to split off the outer rock layers, resulting in a rounded outcrop. Inselbergs are typical of arid or semi- arid regions although they are also found in areas with quite different present-day conditions.
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