Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lake Eyre is, on the rare occasions that it fills, the largest lake in Australia and is the lowest point in Australia (at approximately 15 m (50 ft) below sea level). It is the focal point of the vast Lake Eyre Basin.
The lake is located in the deserts of central Australia, in northern South Australia. The Eyre Basin is a large endorheic system surrounding the lakebed, the lowest part of which is filled with the characteristic playa 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, usually collecting in a number of smaller sub-lakes on the playa. During the rainy season the rivers from the northeast (in outback Queensland) flow towards the lake. The amount of water from the monsoon determines whether water will reach the lake and if it does, how deep the lake will get. The lake can also experience minor and moderate floods due to rain falling in the surrounding area. 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.
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