Gulf of Carpentaria


Gulf of Carpentaria

The Gulf of Carpentaria is a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern Australia and bounded on the north by the Arafura Sea (the body of water that lies between Australia and New Guinea). In geological terms, the Gulf is young; it was dry land as recently as the last ice age.

The land bordering the Gulf is generally flat and low-lying. To the west is Arnhem Land and the Top End of the Northern Territory. To the east is the Cape York Peninsula. The area to the south (like the Cape York Peninsula, part of Queensland) is known as the Gulf Country or simply "the Gulf."

The climate is hot and humid with two seasons per year. The dry season lasts from about April until November and is characterized by very dry southeast to east winds, generated by migratory winter high pressure systems to the south. The wet season lasts from December to March. Most of a year's rainfall is compressed into these months, and during this period, many low-lying areas are flooded. The Gulf is also a breeding ground for cyclones during the period between November and April.

In many other parts of Australia, there are dramatic climatic transitions over fairly short distances. The Great Dividing Range, which parallels the entire east and south-east coast, is responsible for the typical pattern of a well-watered coastal strip, a fairly narrow band of mountains, and then a vast, inward-draining plain that receives little rainfall. In the Gulf Country, however, there are no mountains to restrict rainfall to the coastal band and the transition from the profuse tropical growth of the seaside areas to the arid scrubs of central Australia is gradual.

The first known European explorer to visit the region was the Dutch Willem Janszoon "(whose name is also written as Jansz)" in his 1606 voyage. His fellow countryman Jan Carstenszoon (or "Carstensz.") visited in 1623 and named the gulf in honor of Pieter de Carpentier, at that time Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Abel Tasman also explored the coast in 1644. The region was later explored and charted by Matthew Flinders in 1802 and 1803.

In September and October the Morning Glory Cloud appears in the Southern Gulf. The best vantage point to see this phenomenon is in the Burketown area shortly after dawn.

Major rivers of the Gulf

* Top End
** Roper River
*** Wilton River
* Gulf Country
** Cox River
** Calvert River
** Leichhardt River
** McArthur River
** Flinders River
** Norman River
** Gilbert River
* Cape York Peninsula
** Smithburne River
** Mitchell River
*** Alice River
** Staaten River
** Mission River
** Wenlock River
** Archer River

Physiography

The Gulf is one of the distinct physiographic sections of the larger (and surrounding) Carpentaria Basin province, which in turn is part of the larger East Australian Basins physiographic division.

Pop Culture

The area around the Gulf of Carpentaria is a major ZAFT military base in the mecha anime series Gundam SEED.

External links

* [http://www.morningglorycloud.com Morning Glory Cloud video footage] and video of the Gulf Region around Burketown
* [http://www.morninggloryaustralia.com Morning Glory Cloud meteorology]
* [http://www.aerialvideo.com.au/sweers.html Aerial Video of Sweers Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria]
* [http://www.aerialvideo.com.au/burketown.html Video of Burketown and the Gulf from the air]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gulf of Carpentaria — Lage des Golfs von Carpentaria Der Golf von Carpentaria auf einer niederländischen Karte von 1859. Der Golf von Carpentaria …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gulf of Carpentaria — noun a wide shallow inlet of the Arafura Sea in northern Australia • Syn: ↑Carpentaria • Instance Hypernyms: ↑gulf, ↑Australia • Part Holonyms: ↑Australia, ↑Commonwealth of Australia …   Useful english dictionary

  • Carpentaria, Gulf of — Gulf, northeastern Australia. An inlet of the Arafura Sea, it is bordered by the Northern Territory and by Cape York Peninsula and extends north south about 480 mi (770 km) and east west 400 mi (645 km). It was explored by the Dutch 1605–28; its… …   Universalium

  • Gulf — can refer to: *A gulf, usually referring to a large bay that is an arm of an ocean or sea. For example, the Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in the world. * Gulf is also a novella by Robert A. Heinlein. * A company, see Gulf Oil… …   Wikipedia

  • Gulf of Oman — The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman (Arabic: خليج عُمان‎ Ḫalīdj ʾUmān; alternatively known as خليج مکران , Ḫalīdj Makrān; in Persian: دریای عمان Daryā ye Ommān, or دریای پارس Daryā ye Pārs) is a strait (and not an actual gulf) that connects the… …   Wikipedia

  • Carpentaria palm — /kär pən tä ri ə päm/ noun An ornamental palm tree growing around the Gulf of Carpentaria in N Australia …   Useful english dictionary

  • Carpentaria Shire Council — Infobox Australian Place | type = lga name = Shire of Carpentaria state = qld imagesize= 180 caption = Location in Queensland pop = 4,801 (2001 census) area = est = seat = Normanton mayor = Ashley Gallagher region = url =… …   Wikipedia

  • Carpentaria (novel) — Infobox Book | name = Carpentaria image caption = First edition cover author = Alexis Wright cover artist = Russell White country = Australia language = English genre = Fiction publisher = Giramondo pub date = 2006 media type = Print (paperback)… …   Wikipedia

  • Carpentaria — noun a wide shallow inlet of the Arafura Sea in northern Australia • Syn: ↑Gulf of Carpentaria • Instance Hypernyms: ↑gulf, ↑Australia • Part Holonyms: ↑Australia, ↑Commonwealth of Australia * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • Gulf of Mexico — The Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective Earth s oceans (World Ocean) Arctic Ocean Atlanti …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.