Marble Bar, Western Australia

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Marble Bar
Western Australia
Marble Bar 1898.jpg
Marble Bar in 1898
Marble Bar is located in Western Australia
Marble Bar
Marble Bar
Coordinates 21°10′12″S 119°44′49″E / 21.17000°S 119.74694°E / -21.17000; 119.74694Coordinates: 21°10′12″S 119°44′49″E / 21.17000°S 119.74694°E / -21.17000; 119.74694
Population 194 (2006 Census)[1]
Established 1893
Postcode(s) 6760
Elevation 178 m (584 ft)
Location
  • 1,476 km (917 mi) North East of Perth
  • 152 km (94 mi) South East of Port Hedland
  • 242 km (150 mi) North of Newman
LGA(s) Shire of East Pilbara
State electorate(s) Pilbara
Federal Division(s) Durack
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
35.3 °C
96 °F
19.9 °C
68 °F
361.7 mm
14.2 in

Marble Bar is a town and rock formation in the Pilbara region of north-western Western Australia. It is well known for its extremely hot weather.

History[edit]

The town was officially gazetted in 1893 following the discovery of gold in the area in 1890 by a prospector named Francis Jenkins who is remembered by the name of the town's main street.[2] The name Marble Bar was derived from a nearby jasper bar mistaken for Marble and now known as Marble Bar, which runs across the bed of the Coongan River.

In 1891 the town boasted a population in excess of 5,000 as it experienced a rush on the goldfields.[3]

By 1895 the town had its Government offices built; these are now National Trust buildings. Cut from local stone, the buildings still stand today.

Possibly the most famous building in the town is the Ironclad hotel built in the 1890s, constructed of corrugated Iron, and given the name by American miners who were reminded of the Ironclad ships from the United States. In 2006, the Ironclad hotel was listed on the Western Australian register of heritage places.[4]

Several large gold nuggets were discovered as a result of the goldrush. The 333 ounce Little Hero nugget, the 413 ounce Bobby Dazzler and the 332 ounce General Gordon nugget were all found in the goldfields around the town.

During World War II, United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force heavy bombers were based 25 kilometres (16 mi) away as the crow flies at Corunna Downs Airfield. Allied airmen from the base attacked Japanese forces far away as Borneo.

It had a railway connecting with Port Hedland up until the early 1950s, which can be seen as a narrow gauge precursor to the network of standard gauge iron-ore railways that have since been created across the Pilbara.

Climate[edit]

Marble Bar has an arid climate with very hot summers and mild to warm winters. The town set a world record of most consecutive days of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or above, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.[5]

During December and January, temperatures in excess of 45 °C (113 °F) are common, and the average maximum temperature exceeds normal human body temperature for 6 months each year. Rainfall mostly occurs in the summer months.

Climate data for Marble Bar, Western Australia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 49.2
(120.6)
48.3
(118.9)
46.7
(116.1)
45.0
(113)
39.5
(103.1)
35.8
(96.4)
35.0
(95)
37.2
(99)
42.6
(108.7)
45.6
(114.1)
47.2
(117)
48.3
(118.9)
49.2
(120.6)
Average high °C (°F) 41.0
(105.8)
39.8
(103.6)
39.0
(102.2)
36.0
(96.8)
30.7
(87.3)
27.1
(80.8)
26.8
(80.2)
29.6
(85.3)
33.9
(93)
37.6
(99.7)
40.5
(104.9)
41.6
(106.9)
35.3
(95.5)
Average low °C (°F) 26.1
(79)
25.7
(78.3)
24.8
(76.6)
21.4
(70.5)
16.6
(61.9)
13.2
(55.8)
11.7
(53.1)
13.3
(55.9)
16.7
(62.1)
20.3
(68.5)
23.6
(74.5)
25.5
(77.9)
19.9
(67.8)
Record low °C (°F) 18.9
(66)
13.9
(57)
15.0
(59)
10.0
(50)
5.6
(42.1)
1.1
(34)
2.2
(36)
3.9
(39)
5.6
(42.1)
10.0
(50)
14.4
(57.9)
17.0
(62.6)
1.1
(34)
Precipitation mm (inches) 76.3
(3.004)
87.8
(3.457)
56.7
(2.232)
21.9
(0.862)
23.0
(0.906)
23.0
(0.906)
12.6
(0.496)
6.4
(0.252)
0.9
(0.035)
3.8
(0.15)
9.1
(0.358)
39.6
(1.559)
361.7
(14.24)
Avg. precipitation days 7.4 7.7 4.9 1.9 2.4 2.3 1.5 0.9 0.3 0.6 1.5 4.6 36.0
 % humidity 26 31 26 23 27 28 24 21 17 16 16 20 23
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology[6]

North Pole[edit]

An ironically named locality nearby is known as North Pole (21° 05' S. 119° 22' E.), no doubt for its heat. It is the location of rock formations considered to have evidence that puts the origin of life on earth back to 3,400–3,500 mya, due to stromatolites in particular rock sequences.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] However this is disputed, and it is argued that stromatolites older than 3,200 mya are not the result of living organisms (the definition of stromatolites includes both living and abiotic causes), the small conical structures in the Strelley Pool formation (Warrawoona Group) being formed by evaporation and a dome structure from the North Pole chert (also Warrawoona Group) being formed by soft-sediment deformation.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Marble Bar (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  2. ^ "Sydney Morning Herald - Travel - Marble Bar". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  3. ^ "About Australia - Marble Bar, WA". 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  4. ^ "ABC News - Historic Marble Bar hotel to get heritage listing". 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  5. ^ "Marble Bar heatwave, 1923-1924". Australian Climate Extremes. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  6. ^ "Climate statistics for Australian locations: Marble Bar Comparison". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  7. ^ Douglas, Kim. (1980) "Oldest forms of life on Earth found in WA rocks". North Pole Gold Mine (W.A.) Australian women's weekly, 5 November 1980, p.36-37
  8. ^ Dunlop, J.S.R., Muir, M.D., Milne, A. & Groves, D.I., (1978). "A New Microfossil Assemblage from the Archaean of Western Australia". Nature, 274, 5672. pp.676-678.
  9. ^ Walter, M.R., Buick, R. & Dunlop, J.R.S. (1980) "Stromatolites 3,400-3,500 Myr Old from the North Pole Area, Western Australia. Nature, 284, 5755. pp.443-445.
  10. ^ Buick, R., Dunlop, J.S.R. & Groves, D.I., (1981). "Stromatolite Recognition in Ancient Rocks and Appraisal of Irregularly Laminated Structures in an Early Archaean Chert-Barite Unit from North Pole, Western Australia". Alcheringa, 5. pp.161-181.
  11. ^ "Newly discovered early Archean (3.4–3.5 Ga Old) microorganisms from the Warrawoona Group of Western Australia". SpringerLink. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  12. ^ Buick, R., (1988) . "Carbonaceous Filaments from North Pole, Western Australia: Are They Fossil Bacteria in Archaean Stromatolites? A reply". Precambrian Research, 39. pp.311-317.
  13. ^ Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV (2004): "Characterization Of The Organic Matter In An Archean Chert (Warrawoona, Australia)."
  14. ^ "Molecular evidence for life in the 3.5 billion year old Warrawoona chert". Adsabs.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  15. ^ http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/03612/EGU04-J-03612.pdf Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 6, 03612, 2004: SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU04-A-03612: European Geosciences Union 2004: "Characterization Of The Organic Matter In An Archean Chert (Warrawoona, Australia)"
  16. ^ http://pilbara.mq.edu.au/wiki/Reef
  17. ^ Lowe D R 1994 Abiological origin of described stromatolites older than 3.2 Ga. Geology 22:387-390.
  18. ^ Hofmann HJ (2004). "Archean microfossils and abiomorphs". Astrobiology 4 (2): 135–6. Bibcode:2004AsBio...4..135H. doi:10.1089/153110704323175115. PMID 15253835. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Edwards, Hugh Gold dust and iron mountains : Marble Bar & beyond : the story of the Eastern Pilbara Swanbourne, W.A. : H. Edwards, 1993. ISBN 0-646-14570-3 "Produced by the East Pilbara Shire for the centenary of Marble Bar, 1893-1993".