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Australian Lake Comes to Life

Lake Eyre, the lowest point in Australia, is usually just a dry salt bed. In the 1960s, it was used as a racetrack and the perfect spot to set land speed records. Every once in a while, though, there is enough rain and the basin slowly fills, transforming the desert. And after nearly a decade of dr...

Lake Eyre, the lowest point in Australia, is usually just a dry salt bed. In the 1960s, it was used as a racetrack and the perfect spot to
set land speed records. Every once in a while, though, there is enough rain and the basin slowly fills, transforming the desert. And after nearly a decade of drought, the lake has filled again this year.



With the water comes life. The green can be seen from space. Fish fill the water. And birds are flying in to the lake and its tributaries from hundreds of kilometers away. There are reports of a huge pelican breeding colony numbering 40,000 to 60,000. And 10,000 whistling ducks have settled on the Diamantina River, which flows into the lake.



The Australian Broadcasting Corporation had an interesting video on the phenomenon. And NASA has some great satellite photos showing the area before and after the flooding:



May 9, 2009



February 18, 2009



(NASA images created by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey.)
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About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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