Murchison diary date – Astro Rocks Fest

Mount Magnet is home to clear night skies, unique rocks and gems. The area’s vibrant local community is currently putting together plans for the three-day 2019 Astro Rocks Fest (20- 22 September.

Celebrating the sky above and the ancient landscape below, this festival has become an annual event.  It will feature range of activities to promote geology and astronomy and to celebrate the art and cultural heritage of the Mid West.

Professor Andrew Whiteley, the 2012 West Australian Fellow and Winthrop Research Professor in microbial ecology, will present MicroBlitz, a large citizen science project which seeks to survey and map the microbial composition of soils across Western Australia though the use of DNA sequencing. Through this project, Western Australians will be able to learn about the hidden biodiversity of the soil beneath their feet.

Dr Michael Wingate, Manager of Geochronology and Geochemistry at the

Orbicular granite

Geological Survey of Western Australia (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety) will present on determining the age of rocks, illustrating this with rare orbicular granite from the quarry at the region’s Boogardie Station.

Dr Wingate’s important role in determining the age of rocks is helping to understand the geological evolution of Western Australia.

Wirnda Barna artists from Mount Magnet and Yalgoo Arts and Cultural Centre are collaborating to present the Mount Magnet Canvas and Quilt Art Exhibition expressing landscapes, night sky and Aboriginal stories of the northern WA regions.

For further information:

Image: This floating stone sphere sculpted from Boogardie orbicular granite was designed and made in Perth and is located in Forrest Place. Perfectly balanced, the sphere rotates unassisted on a film of water, but with just the touch of a finger, it can be stopped and then gently pushed in any direction — even by a small child. Similar rocks in the Mount Magnet region have been dated at 2685 million years.