Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pyramid In The Middle Of The Ocean - Ball's Pyramid

Ball's Pyramid is an erosional remnant of a shield volcano and caldera. Balls Pyramid is 20 km (13 miles) southeast of Lord Howe Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is 562 m (1844 ft) high, while measuring only 1100 m (3600 ft) in length and 300 m (1000 ft) across, making it the tallest volcanic stack in the world.It is part of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.
562 m (1844 ft) high pyramid
Balls Pyramid has a few satellite islets. Observatory Rock and Wheatsheaf Islet lie about 800 m WNW and 800 m WSW, respectively, of the western extremity of Balls Pyramid. Southeast Rock is a pinnacle located about 3.5 km (2 mi) southeast of Balls Pyramid. Like Lord Howe Island and the Lord Howe seamount chain, Balls Pyramid is based on the Lord Howe Rise, part of the submerged continent of Zealandia.
A juvenile masked booby soars past Ball's Pyramid just off Lord Howe Island
Ball’s Pyramid
<strong>Flaming balls pyramid</strong>   

 23 kms south of Lord Howe, Balls Pyramid is an example of the near full destruction of a volcanic island. Along with Mt. Gower and Mt. Lidgbird to the north it was once a massive caldera wall.
Sunset at Ball's Pyramid
The pyramid was named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball who  discovered it in 1788 at the same time he discovered Lord Howe Island. The first person to go ashore is believed to have been Henry Wilkinson in 1882, who was a geologist at the New South Wales Department of Mines.
There had been an earlier attempt in 1964 by another Sydney team that included adventurer Dick Smith (then just 20 years old) and other members of the Scouting movement. They were forced to turn back on their fifth day running short of food and water. In 1979 Smith returned to the pyramid, together with climbers John Worrall and Hugh Ward, and they successfully reached the summit. At the top they unfurled a flag of New South Wales provided to them by Premier Neville Wran and declared the island Australian territory (a formality which it seems had not previously been done).
Climbing was banned in 1982 under amendments to the Lord Howe Island Act, and in 1986 all access to the island was banned by the Lord Howe Island Board. In 1990 the policy changed to allow some climbing under strict conditions, which in recent years has required an application to the relevant state Minister.
Dryococelus australis - insect that lives only on Ball's Pyramid
Dryococelus australis - один из изучавшихся видов. Фото с сайта insectissima.de
The population was extremely small, only 24 individuals
In 2001, a team of entomologists and conservationists landed on Balls Pyramid to chart its flora and fauna. To their surprise they rediscovered a population of the Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis) living in an area of six by 30 metres, at a height of 100 metres above the shoreline, under a single Melaleuca howeana shrub. The bush is growing in a small crevice where water was seeping through cracks in the underlying rocks. This moisture supported relatively lush plant growth which had, over time, resulted in a build up of plant debris, several metres deep. The population was extremely small, only 24 individuals. Two pairs were brought to two Pacific zoos to breed new populations. On the unsuccessful 1964 climb, Dave Roots had brought back a photograph of the insect, which the Australian Museum told him they thought was extinct.
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