Tessellated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, Australia

Matthew Stewart

Nundah, Australia

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Gear: Canon 5D Mk II | Canon 17-40

Settings: ISO 100 | f/11 | 1.6 | 17mm

Shooting the Tessellated Pavement near Port Arthur at Eaglehawk Neck is trickier than it seems. The pavement is stunning and the reflections even more so – and the location, mere minutes walk from the carpark (the steps down from the walkway lead right onto it!)

At high tide on sunrise I feared it would be complete covered, but it was not – as the waves splash over the rocks the water runs over the rocks keeping the rocks wet and reflective. Quite a sight!

Still haunted from the Ghost Tour the previous not (kinda!) we snuck down here just as the predawn light came though.

It’s a place I’d love to revisit again another day, lot’s of potential for sure.

Here is my trip video of my trip to Tasmania in Autumn 2011 – you can check it out here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmjd0WyzkX0

My previous video, “Tasmania, Spring 2011 – A Compliation” can be found here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WBGjkiarxc

Tessellated Pavement

A tessellated pavement is a rare erosional feature formed in flat sedimentary rock formations lying on some ocean shores. The pavement bears this name because the rock has fractured into polygonal blocks that resemble tiles, or tessellations. The cracks (or joints) were formed when the rock fractured through the action of stress on the Earth’s crust and subsequently were modified by sand and wave action.

A characteristic example of this formation may be found at Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula of Tasmania. This example consists of two types of formations: a pan formation and a loaf formation.

The pan formation is a series of concave depressions in the rock that typically forms beyond the edge of the seashore. This part of the pavement dries out more at low tide than the portion abutting the seashore, allowing salt crystals to develop further; the surface of the “pans” therefore erodes more quickly than the joints, resulting in increasing concavity.

The loaf formations occur on the parts of the pavement closer to the seashore, which are immersed in water for longer periods of time. These parts of the pavement do not dry out so much, reducing the level of salt crystallisation. Water, carrying abrasive sand, is typically channelled through the joints, causing them to erode faster than the rest of the pavement, leaving loaf-like structures protruding.

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