Breakaways are a notable feature of inland Western Australia. In what is one of the oldest geographical regions on Earth, the Yilgarn Block, softer soils have gradually eroded through the ceaseless action of wind and water. Only those areas with a hard laterite (ironstone/granite) top have resisted this grinding and reshaping.
Where the crust of these laterite layers has crumbled the hard top remains to form a ‘mesa’ while the continuing erosion of the surrounding softer soil and rock forms a steep ‘breakaway’.
The magnificent colours often seen in breakaways are a consequence of varying soil types with laterites giving the rusty reds and shales and sandstones the softer yellows and whites.
© Kim Epton 2015-2018
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