Is Uluru the world’s biggest rock?

Is Uluru the world’s biggest rock?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/25/2019

Reading time: 3 mins

Uluru is big, like REALLY BIG, but it might surprise you that it isn’t the biggest rock in the world.

Taller than the Eiffel Tower, as wide as 346 Melbourne Cricket Grounds, and weighing over 1 million tonnes Uluru is undeniably huge. Contrary to popular belief, however, Uluru isn’t the largest rock in the world. In fact, it’s not even the largest rock in Australia!

Uluru may be the world’s most famous rock but despite a common perception, it isn’t the world’s largest. Located in the state of Western Australia, Mount Augustus is the world’s largest rock and is approximately two-and-a-half times the size of Uluru!

Why do people think Uluru is the biggest rock then?

Well, the formations of Uluru and Mount Augustus differ on some small technicalities and depending who you speak to some may rightfully argue that Uluru is still the biggest rock.

  • Monoliths

    The defining difference between the two formations is their designation as a monolith. Uluru is the world’s . That is to say, there is no other single rock formation as large as Uluru. Mount Augustus, on the other hand, contains a variety of rock types. Therefore, it cannot take the title of largest monolith from Uluru. Who would have thought that rocks could be so competitive!

    Despite Mount Augustus dwarfing Uluru that shouldn’t take away from its incredible size and stature.

  • Uluru Underground 

    You may have heard people calling Uluru a land iceberg. What people mean when saying this is that much of the rock continues below the ground’s surface, much like floating icebergs. Rising over 850m above the ground it’s almost unbelievable that this isn’t even half of Uluru’s height.  Underground the rock extends for at least another 2.5km.

  • Formation of Uluru

    The explanation of Uluru’s formation differs between the local Anangu people and the scientific communities.

    The Anangu people believe that before their ancestral beings formed Uluru, the world was flat and bare. Today they believe that the spirits of these beings still inhabit the landscape in the form of people, plants and animals. These creation stories, called Tjukurpa, are passed from generation to generation and Uluru remains a highly sacred site for the Anangu people.

    Scientists, however, believe that Uluru dates to the formation of the Australian continent. Around 400 million years ago the centre of Australia became an inland sea. Geologists believe that Uluru was formed during this period. Sands at the bottom of the basin in the inland sea were under immense pressure from the weight of the water. Scientists believe this pressure turned the sands into sandstone which formed the Uluru we know today.

    Regardless of its formation, you should take a moment to step back and take in its incredible beauty and learn about Uluru’s significance to the local Anangu people.

The largest rock in the world or not, Uluru is a natural masterpiece. Its stature, colour, and stunning surrounds makes it a must-see on any Northern Territory itinerary.

Related article: What are the features of Uluru?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.