I visited the Lawn Hill Impact Structure in June 2008
. I was staying in
Adel's Grove while assisting with tourism research at the Australian Fossil Mammal Site (Riversleigh)
World Heritage Area. Having found out that the crater area in question did not
require additional permission to visit, two aquaintences and I headed
off for an adventure.
From Adel's Grove, drive back towards Gregory Downs about 5km. At a
line of hills, a road heads off to the south. This is also the road to
the western entrance of the Zinifex Century Mine (whose name will
probably change another time or two...). Carry on until you arrive at
the gate to the mine. You can pull off to the side of the road here, or
drive along the fenceline to the north for a hundred meters or so.
(Note: 10-20 meters north of the gate, the quality of the
fence will change, you Do Not want to be wandering along the area
inside the better quality fence! Pull out your GPS and mark your
parking place. You now want to walk about 5km to the East... That will
put you in the center of the impact structure. Take enough water and a
snack! Long pants for the spinefex bushes, and good boots.
The structure is in pastoral land, so you have a chance of meeting up
with cattle, as well as a species or two of kangaroo/wallaby... The
first part of the walk is through a level area crossed by a dried
streambed or two. Then you will cross a hill range. This represents
(depending on your interpretation of the structure) the remanants of
the crater rim, central uplift, or... Notice the orientation of the
rock. Occasionally chaotic, occasionally showing uplift. It is an old
structure, and the impact may have been in shallow water. The central
portion of the structure is relatively flat, and an occasional vehicle
track goes across.
The exciting part:
As we were returning to the vehicle, we saw someone nearby. A security
person from the mine, who then declared we were in big trouble as we
been trespassing. She called her supervisor who showed up soon after we
drove back to the gate. She kept insisting we were in the wrong place,
we asserted we were pretty sure we were in an allowed location...
Fortunately for all, her supervisor arrived, and after a short
discussion, we straightened out a)
where we had been, and b)
was perfectly fine to be there. She had been misinformed by one person,
and to make things more confusing, had (mis)
reported us as
being in a place
where we really should not have been. (near some off limits cultural
areas, And, right near the active pit) In any case, we had an exciting
10-15 minutes getting everything straightened out.
If you go, you might phone the mine, just to let them know you know
where you are going and for them not to be too excited.
- I was back at Adel's Grove this July - I didn't get out to the crater
on foot this time, but by a bit of randomness, I was invited for a
quick checkout flight in a light plane - no time to grab a camera, but
we flew over to the crater and mine area. A lot easier to see the
topography, and it was late afternoon, for better shadows. Alas, maybe
I'll be able to get up again next trip and take pictures.
I got to spent a day working with the paleos (aussie for paleontologists) at the Riversleigh dig - which was a lot of fun, if hot!!!
are setting off
I'm on the right - Peter on the left - image by Allan O'Neil
For a recent article -
this is excellent
Australian Journal of
- (2008) 55
New insights into the
size and timing of the Lawn Hill impact structure: relationship to the
Century Zn - Pb deposit
J. A. Salisbury; A. G. Tomkins; B. F. Schaefer
all from: School of Geosciences, Monash University, Vic, Australia
Panorama of the inner region of the Lawn Hill Impact Structure - taken
from the western rim. Image center is the approximate center of the
structure - the light "hills" to the right are the mine tailings of the
The view back towares the
from near the center of the structure - behind or just to the left of
the tree in the middle of the image above. The image above was taken
from part way up the higher rise on the left half.
The view from Above
Yes, this has been a bit
stretched - if you want the original version Click
And an image of The Mine
Extracted from a "low res" geological map of the area. Lawn Hill Impact
Structure in the middle, the Mine is stated to be the Silver King Mine
- It's changed it's name since the map was made. I'll see if I can pick
up the more recent and higher resolution map when I get back this
Page updated 2-Aug-2009