Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Lake Eyre basin

The Lake Eyre basin is Australia’s largest drainage system, and the 4th largest Endorheic drainage in the world. The main northern Rivers, the Diamantina and Georgina rivers, Are fed by the summer monsoons. These rivers discharge into a large deltaic/swampy region of interconnected channels and lakes known as the Diamantina, and channel country, which in turn drain into Lake Eyre. The farther downstream you go, the less likely it is that flooding occurs. So while the northern rivers have flow during most summer monsoons, the Diamantina only gets a decent soaking every few years, and Lake Eyre itself only fills a few times per century. As a result of heavy rain this January, the lake is currently close to full and still filling, as seen in this satellite image from NASA’s Earth observatory:

Prior to this event, I was doing exploration in part of channel country that was filled by a rare local winter storm a few months before our expedition. The waterfowl were fairly impressive for a region that is sand dunes and salt flats for most of the time. Here are some brolgas:

hat tip: Brian

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