Martins Well hosts a diverse assemblage of significant cultural, ecological and geological sites. Of particular importance is the geology of the Viliwaranha/Reaphook Hill area. This area hosts rocks containing fossils of the enigmatic Ediacara biota. At c. 555 million years old, these fossils represent the first macroscopic life on Earth, pre-dating the radiation of animals.
The Ediacara biota includes a range of weird and wonderful body plans and fossils including Dickinsonia, Rugoconites, Coronacolina and Tribrachidium have been unearthed here. Ediacaran fossils are found at locations across the Flinders Ranges and are the current focus of a World Heritage nomination application by the South Australian State Government. This aims to protect these fossil sites, while ensuring research and education will continue.
The Viliwaranha/Reaphook Hill area is an excellent place to study Ediacaran fossils, and is currently the research focus of geologists from the University of South Australia. Research undertaken to date has contributed to several research papers detailing aspects of how the Ediacara biota lived and interacted with one another, as well as understanding the shallow-water environments these organisms lived in. Fieldwork has yielded several significant fossil finds. These include a number of specimens which are currently being studied, as well as more fossil material which will remain on Martins Well for future study and education purposes.
For further information please visit https://people.unisa.edu.au/Lily.Reid