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Australia Desert

The Australian continent is one of the driest in the world apart from Antarctica. Nearly 50% of Australia receives less than 25cms of rainfall in a year. Australian desert areas are extremely warm and are one of the most difficult places for survival of plants, human beings and animals. Most of the Australian deserts are located in central and north-western parts of the country. The total size of the Australian deserts is 2.3 million square kilometre and it occupies 44% of the entire continental area.

The formation of the Australian deserts has a rich and interesting past. Australia did not always lie on the southern part of the equator but after its formation it is supposed to have travelled to its north. The desert belts were created when hot air from the equatorial region carried all the moisture upwards. As this warm air reaches the higher altitudes, it gets cooler and brings rainfall in the tropical areas and then it becomes dry and cold. This air then travels from the equator towards the north and south towards the north and south poles. As this area is extremely dry it does not bring substantial amount of rainfall to the Australian continent and as a result most parts of the continent have turned into extensive deserts regions. It is said that these Australian deserts were once covered by layers of polar ice and before that by shallow stretches of land, but have now turned into extremely dry areas.

The famous Australian deserts include Great Victoria Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Western Desert, Tanami Desert, Gibson Desert, Little Sandy Desert, Simpson Desert and Strzelecki Desert among others. Out of these, Great Victorian Desert is the biggest desert of Australia and the sixth largest in the world in terms of area. This desert is a barren and arid region in the southern part of Australia. This desert falls in both the states of Western Australia and South Australia. The Great Victorian desert comprises of many grasslands, salted lakes and sand hills. Since the area is very arid so no farming activity is carried out in this region and the region receives a total rainfall of 200mm in a year. During summers, the temperatures range between 32ēC to 40ēC and in winters it drops down to 18ēC to 23ēC.

The Great Sandy Desert is a vast desert in north-western Australia. This desert lies between the rocky mountains of Kimberley and Pilbara. The average summer temperatures range between 20ēC to 30ēC. Rainfall is very patchy in most parts of the Great Sandy Desert and areas near Kimberley receive 300mm of rainfall in a year. There are about 20-30 thunderstorms in a year in the area which further increases the temperatures.

The Gibson Desert is another renowned Australian desert which stretches for about 155,000 square kilometres. This desert lies in Western Australia and comprises of dry grass and sand hills. The Gibson Desert lies amid Lake Disappointment and Lake MacDonald along the Tropic of Capricorn. The desert was named after Alfred Gibson. The temperatures range about 20ēC to 30ēC and the area receives about 200mm of rainfall.

The deserts of Australia have become an indispensable part of the Australian topography and have earned Australia the title of “the Land of Deserts”.
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