Lake Eyre shot again -uncropped

The middle shot of Lake Eyre (Kati Thanda) in Australia above is the un-cropped version of the image in my previous post that has been used as a cover shot on the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” . A scientific article by John Fasullo in the journal refers to water storage in the middle of Australia after unseasonally high rainfall for an extended period and how it effected world sea level rise. But only for a couple of seasons during 2010-11!! The shot only shows some of the inflow to Lake Eyre, indigenous name “Kati Thanda” not the lake itself. The brown bits that look smooth and a bit like puddles are in fact large inflows of water toward Lake Eyre. The shot was taken from about 15-18,000 feet in altitude.

The shots either side of it are:  on the left, water flowing between desert sand dunes in the Simpson Desert and on the right, the vast expanse of Lake Eyre as first seen after descending through high based cloud on one particular flight. The dappled appearance of the surface and the colours are from the high salt and mineral content of the water and the reflections of the high cloud base of Alto-Cumulus cloud on the (mostly) water surface. The shot was taken from about 15,000 feet. The channel or “smear” through the centre of the scene is what is known as the”Warburton Groove” , a visible sign of the inflow from Warburton Creek, one of the inflows from the desert and one that runs almost the full longitudinal length of the lake after entering it. ie over 100 kilometres. It is also visible as a different coloured surface to the  surrounding ground when the lake is quite dry.  The “lake” of course is most years nothing more than a dry salt lake that has a surface around 50 feet below normal average sea level. To give an idea of scale, the shot on the left of water in the dunes was taken from much lower than the others at about 9,000 feet. The spots on the image or on the dunes are trees. Typical fairly small to medium sized desert trees such as desert oak but never the less.. trees.

As well as the scientific interest it is really quite awe inspiring just to look at at from up high. Kati Thanda shows many moods with a great varieties of colours and patterns depending on the water level or lack there of, the time of day and the weather. Although not the only ephemeral salt lake in Australia it is by far the biggest and very near right in the middle of this large dry but fragile continent.


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