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Salt Pans in Northern Part of Lake Eyre Basin, Australia – November 25th, 2010

28.1S 137.2E

November 25th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Salt Flats

Australia - November 9th, 2010

Lake Eyre, situated near the left edge of the image, is an ephemeral lake in central Australia. It is the lowest point in the country, in a basin at approximately 15 m (49 ft) (AHD) below sea level, and, on the rare occasions that it fills, it is the largest lake in Australia.

Typically a 1.5 m (5 ft) flood occurs every three years, a 4 m (13 ft) flood every decade, and a fill or near fill four times a century. The water in the lake soon evaporates with a minor and medium flood drying by the end of the following summer.

The Eyre Basin is a large endorheic system surrounding the lakebed, the lowest part of which is filled with the characteristic salt pan caused by the seasonal expansion and subsequent evaporation of the trapped waters. Even in the dry season there is usually some water remaining in Lake Eyre, normally collecting in a number of smaller sub-lakes on the playa.

Here, such white salt pans can be seen in the northern part of the basin. The eastern and western parts appear reddish and greenish in color, apparently still containing some water from the high summer rainfall in 2010.

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