Environment: Hostile as Anywhere

The Pilbara district of northwestern Australia's outback is a sort of hell. There is barely enough vegetation on the stony hills and sere plains to support the area's population of wild donkeys, kangaroos and emus; only rock pythons, death adders and hoards of stinging insects seem to have adapted comfortably to the climatic extremes: winds that reach velocities of 140 m.p.h., dust storms that swirl out of the nearby Great Sandy Desert, noonday temperatures as high as 180° F. For man, it is as hostile a place as any in the world.

But man has come to the Pilbara, drawn by the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!