Discovery trails to early Earth

The east Pilbara region in the northwest of Western Australia has one of Earth’s best-preserved remnants of ancient crust — crust that is more than 3.5 billion years old.
 A flat pavement showing beautifully preserved ripple marks in fine-grained sedimentary rocks
A flat pavement showing beautifully preserved ripple marks in fine-grained sedimentary rocks
Discovery trails to early Earth
Red rocks and blue sky reflected in the calm waters of a Pilbara pool provide a sense of timelessness

Discovery trails to early Earth takes you on a journey through this iconic ancient land. It is a practical geotourism book that helps you follow specific trails radiating from Marble Bar. It stops at interesting sites to discover the remnants of gigantic volcanic eruptions, ancient sedimentary rocks, the famed 'Marble Bar', and the most ancient traces of life on Earth, called stromatolites. While you visit these amazing natural formations, you can read about their geological history and how they formed.

What's in the book?

The main features you can see in the book are:

  • six drive trails including stopping points that are centred on the township of Marble Bar
  • GPS-referenced stops for easy location
  • a double-page spread for each stop describing what you see, and how the feature formed
  • lavish illustrations and annotated photos, and diagrams

This book will be of interest to:

  • tourists travelling around Australia — scratch beneath the surface for some hidden secrets
  • school children and teachers — there is much to interest you in this book
  • those with an interest in the Pilbara region, its rocks and landscapes
  • locals wanting to deepen their knowledge of the region, and perhaps see some areas with new insight
  • geoscientists on holiday

The book is a handy addition for the glove box of your car.

Showing how information is presented in the book
Vista at the Marble Bar Road turnoff. Ancient (Archean) granite lies underneath Cretaceous sandstone.

How to access the book?

To buy a hardcopy of Discovery trails to early Earth — a traveller's guide to the east Pilbara of Western Australia by Martin Van Kranendonk and Jean Johnston, please email the  You can also download a free PDF from the link below.

Be an armchair traveller and download a virtual tour of the six trails for use in Google Earth software. See our other virtual tours.

View the Trails to early earth in the east Pilbara as a virtual tour.