We left our tour of the underground Catholic church and emerged back into the sunlight, the temperature had risen by now and was just over 40 degrees. The afternoon of our last day in this unique opal mining town , was to be a visit to Umoona opal mine and museum.
Umoona is an original opal mine located in the centre of town, that has been converted into Coober Pedy’s largest single underground tourist attraction. Comprising an original opal mine, an underground home, an aboriginal interpretive centre, heritage museum, showroom and opal retail shop.
This was to prove to be quite an experience, not only for the opal mine itself, but the amount of ancient fossils that had been unearthed, either through the drilling processes for opal, or through archaeological excavations.
The story behind this is that approximately 150 million years ago, the ocean covered the Coober Pedy region.
After the sea water receded, there were climatic changes that caused the lowering of the underground water tables. Silica solutions were carried down to deposit in cavities, faults and fractures in the ground, and now, millions of years later, these Silica solutions have formed opal and are also home to the variety of ancient fossils.
The pictures I share give you an idea of the size of this mine, and the museum display gives a great indication of the diversity and huge creatures that inhabited that piece of Australia over 150 million years ago.
Tomorrow we depart Coober Pedy, and head to a different and beautiful part of the South Australian outback a different climate and a beautiful display of Mother natures might, the volcanic crater in the Flinders ranges, known as Wilpena Pound.