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This comprehensive reading list is for those who are interested in learning more about Alice Springs, the Larapinta Trail, the geography of Central Australia and everything in between!

1. A guide to the geology and Landforms of Central Australia by R.B Thompson

In arid country such as central Australia, the generally red rocky landscape is accentuated by the sparse vegetation, blue skies and strong sunlight. Long sinuous mountains of layered rocks rise to an even height and stretch across the country. Alternating valleys and ridges reflect the softness or hardness of the underlying rocks. The link between landforms, which concern the shapes and texture of the land, and geology is so noticeable that an increasing number of visitors and residents have become interested in learning more about how the region evolved. This booklet, which has been written to satisfy this interest, has been developed from lectures given to the public over the last ten years and replaces the long-out-of print “A Layman’s guide to the Geology of Central Australia” written by D. R. Woolley in 1964.

The geological history of the region, which includes both Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, is developed with particular reference to places commonly seen by visitors. The history is condensed from a large number of reports and studies by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra, the Northern Territory Geological Survey and university researchers, and those referred to are listed at the back of this booklet. Geological maps at a scale of 1:250 000 cover the region and the included maps have been generalised from these.

2. A Layman's Guide to the Geology of Central Australia by D.R Woolley

In arid landscapes the association between scenery and geology can be very obvious and this is particularly true in Central Australia. Because of this association many visitors who come here find themselves developing an interest in the geology of the region, and this booklet has been prepared to assist such people. The booklet is a brief, generalised summary of some aspects of the geology in Central Australia, with a section describing some of the more popular localities in slightly more detail.

3. The Geology of Australia by David Johnson

This book documents the rich and spectacular heritage of the Australian continent over the last 4400 million years. Now in its third edition, The Geology of Australia provides a comprehensive overview of Australia's geology, landscapes and Earth resources. Beginning with the Precambrian rocks that hold clues to the origins of life and the development of an oxygenated atmosphere, it goes on to cover the warm seas, volcanism and episodes of mountain building that formed the eastern third of the Australian continent. This illuminating history details the breakup of the supercontinents Rodinia and Gondwana, the times of previous glaciations, the development of climates and landscapes in modern Australia, and the creation of the continental shelves and coastlines. This third edition features two new chapters on geological time and Paleozoic orogenic rock systems and mountain building, and new and updated illustrations and full-colour images.

4. Geological and mineral observations in central Australia – Hodge Smith

This 35-page book details the geology and minerals found in Central Australia. In the introduction, Hodge states "By the invitation of the Mica Corporation of Australia Limited, and the generous assistance of a number of donors, I was enabled to accompany Messrs. J. Dale and R. Barlow on an expedition to Central Australia...It will be obvious that any work carried out is purely in the nature of reconnaissance, and all that can be hoped for is that these notes may add a little to our knowledge of this very remote and exceedingly interesting area. "

5. Wandering the Larapinta– GJ Coop

Written by GJ Coop, this book details his experience along the Larapinta Trail.

The Larapinta Trail is a 223km wander through the main ranges of the West Macdonnell National Park, just west of Alice Springs in Central Australia. You can take anywhere between 15 to 20 days for what’s called the End to End, the time depending on your enthusiasm for trudging. The best time for the traverse is between May and August, inclusive, but certainly not in summer when in addition to the heat, ie, 40ºC+, there is a significant disincentive: bushfires. Water is the major determinant for any itinerary, there are tanks at all but one of the major campsites, unless you want to carry plenty of water it’s probably sensible to camp adjacent to a water tank. So, I’m quite the travel guide.

This book, however, has personal observations from a 13 day walk that managed just 132 of those kilometres, albeit the more scenic parts, and in any case I’d previously acquainted myself the most spectacular, and final, section a couple of times, climbing Mt Sonder.
I spent a summer in Alice working on a construction site while waiting for the Wet Season to end up north. At the tail end of my time I found I could squeeze in a couple of weeks on the Larapinta.
This is my tale, but first, setting the scene in Alice.

6. History and the Landscape in Central Australia: A Study of the Material Evidence of European Culture and Settlement by David Carment

Aspects of the historical geography of Central Australia; brief historical context and description of Aboriginal regional occupation - Aboriginal sites of significance mentioned; contact history sites - description, physical layout and history of Hermannsburg and Phillip Creek (Manga Manga); chapters on pastoral homesteads, wells on north-south stock route, mining at Arltunga and Tennant Creek, urbanisation of Alice Springs; cultural resource managment in Central Australia.

Other books:
Geology of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve by M.D.J. Derriman Dept of Mines and Energy NT Geological Survey.
Geology and Landforms of Central Australia: Lecture notes Abdul Khan
MacDonnell Ranges Guide: Geology & Landform – Alice Springs to Glen Helen by Dept of Mines and Energy
MacDonnell Ranges Guide: Landscape and Geology – Alice Springs to Arltunga by Dept of Mines and Energy

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