The Pilbara is a large, dry, thinly populated region in the north of Western Australia. It is known for its Aboriginal peoples, its ancient landscapes, the red earth, its vast mineral deposits, in particular iron ore and as a global biodiversity hotspot for subterranean fauna. It is one of nine regions of the Regional Development Commissions Act 1993, and is also a bioregion under the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA). The region has an estimated population of 48,610 as of June 2010. The Pilbara covers an area of 502,000 km2, which includes some of Earth's oldest rock formations. It includes landscapes of coastal plains and mountain ranges with cliffs and gorges. The major settlements of the region are Port Hedland, Karratha and Newman. The area is known for its petroleum, natural gas and iron ore deposits, which contribute significantly to Western Australia's economy. Other than mining, pastoral activities as well as fishing and tourism are the main industries.