Fossilised waterwheel, Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia

Posted by barbara on October 13, 2013

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Anyone taking the time to visit Western Australia's Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (which marks the meeting of the Indian and Southern oceans) should check out the fossilised waterwheel near the car park.

While it's worth signing up for a tour of Augusta's famous lighthouse, constructed between 1895-96 and visible from 40 km out to sea, there's no cost to view the comparatively small waterwheel that is a tourist attraction in its own right.

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Fed by a raised wooden flume, the wheel was originally turned by water pumped from a local spring, providing fresh water for the lighthouse keepers and their families on the isolated cape.

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The dissolved minerals and salts dissolved in the spring water gradually calcified the original wooden structure over time, fossilising them into a static limestone structure in the same way that water dripping into a cave builds stalagmites and stalactites.

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