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Grose Valley Grose Valley   (Ian Brown)
The upper Grose Valley typifies the well-known landscape of the central Blue Mountains: an undulating plateau above cliff-walled valleys of dense forest.

Blue Mountains Landscape
by Ian Brown
Refereed and corrected by Dr Chris Fergusson,
University of Wollongong

Introduction

A popular idea of the Blue Mountains is what you see from the tourist lookouts at Wentworth Falls, Echo Point and Govetts Leap - an expanse of thick bush, sandstone, ochre clifflines and deep gorges.

While this is pretty true for the central, Blue Mountains Range area, it doesn't do justice to the complexity of that terrain or the variety of other landscapes that make up the whole Greater Blue Mountains.

The origin of the Blue Mountains is a fascinating geological story of deposition, vulcanism, earth movements and erosion – a story that is still not fully understood.

The resulting landscape diversity controls everything else – microclimates, soils, flora and fauna.


Escarpment fog (photo by: Ian Brown)
Escarpment fog

The escarpment landform close to the coast creates a moist maritime climate, so the heights of the Blue Mountains experience frequent atmospheric fogs.


Diverse landscape (photo by: Ian Brown)
Diverse landscape

Foreground Triassic sandstone gives way to complex ridge topography of older Lachlan Fold Belt rocks.

Permian sandstones cling to the quartzite heights of Mount Cloudmaker (right background), while the Tertiary basalt remnant of Mount Colong breaks the left horizon.