Great Sandy Desert

Great Sandy Desert

:"There is another desert called "Great Sandy Desert" in Oregon, US."

The Great Sandy Desert is a 267,250 km² (103,190 mi²) expanse in northwestern Australia. It forms part of a larger desert area known as the Western Desert. The vast region of Western Australia is sparsely populated, without significant settlements. The Great Sandy Desert is a flat area between the rocky ranges of the Pilbara and the Kimberley. To the southeast is the Gibson Desert and to the east is the Tanami Desert. The Rudall River National Park and Lake Dora are located in the southwest while Lake Mackay is located in the southeast.


The Great Sandy Desert contains large Ergs, often consisting of longitudinal dunes. The Wolfe Creek meteorite impact crater is located in the northeast.


On the coast, there are isolated sheep stations; the remainder of the region is sparsely populated. The main populations consist of Indigenous Australian communities and mining centers. The aboriginal people of the desert fall into two main groups the Martu in the west and the Pintupi in the east. Linguistically, they are speakers of Western Desert Languages. Many of these indigenous people were forcibly removed from their lands during the 20th century and relocated to settlements such as Papunya in the Northern Territory. In recent years, some of the original inhabitants have returned to found communities such as Punmu.


Rainfall is low throughout the coast and far north. Areas near the Kimberley do have an average exceeding 300 mm (12 in), but the rainfall is patchy with many drought years often ending in a monsoonal cloud mass or tropical cyclone. Like many of Australia's deserts, rainfall does seem high by desert standards, because even in the driest parts rainfalls rarely drop below 250 mm (10 in). A massive evaporation rate makes up for the higher than normal desert rainfall. This region is one which gives rise to the heat lows which help drive the NW monsoon. Almost all rain comes from monsoonal thunderstorms or the occasional tropical cyclone rain depression.

Thunderstorm days average 20-30 through most of the area, but in the north bordering the Kimberley, 30-40 per year is the average.

Summer daytime temperatures are some of the hottest in Australia. The range on the northern border near the Kimberley at Halls Creek is around 37 to 38 °C ( 99 to 100 °F ), but this would be indicative of the low end of the range. Regions further south would average 38 to 42 °C (100 to 108 °F) except when monsoonal cloud cover is active. Several people have died in this region after their vehicles have broken down on remote tracks. Winter is short and warm, temperatures range from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), by late August it is hot again.

Frost does not occur in most of the area. The regions bordering the Gibson Desert in the far south east may record a light frost or two every year. Away from the coast winter nights can still be chilly in comparison to the sun drenched warm days.


Little economic activity occurs in the desert. Mines, most importantly the Telfer gold mine and Nifty copper mine, and cattle stations are found in the far west. Telfer is one of the largest gold mines in Australia. The undeveloped Kintyre Uranium Deposit lies south of Telfer.

Fauna and Flora

The vegetation of the Great Sandy Desert is dominated by spinifex.

Animals occurring in the region include feral camels, dingos, goannas (including the large Perentie) and numerous species of lizard and birds. There is also some animals that live in the great sandy desert known as the Bilbies,the Thorny Devils, the Bearded Dragons, and the Red Kangaroo.

It is an Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) region.cite paper | author = Environment Australia | title = Revision of the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) and Development of Version 5.1 - Summary Report | publisher = Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Australian Government | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31] [ IBRA Version 6.1] data]


The first European to cross the desert was Peter Warburton in 1873.

The historic Canning Stock Route traverses the southeastern portions of the Great Sandy Desert. Indigenous people were forcibly removed from the area due to Blue Streak missile tests in the 1950's."'

ee also

*List of deserts by area


* Burbidge, A.A. and N.L. McKenzie. (editors)"Wildlife of the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia" Perth, W.A. : Western Australian Wildlife Research Centre [and] Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1983. ISBN 0-7244-9307-7

Further reading

* Thackway, R and I D Cresswell (1995) "An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia : a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program" Version 4.0 Canberra : Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, 1995. ISBN 0642213712

External links

* [ Kintyre/Rudall River Uranium Deposit]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Great Sandy Desert — N section of the vast desert region of Western Australia …   English World dictionary

  • Great Sandy Desert —   [ greɪt sændɪ dezət], Wüste in Australien, Große Sandwüste …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Great Sandy Desert — noun 1. a desert in southern Saudi Arabia • Syn: ↑Rub al Khali, ↑Ar Rimsal, ↑Dahna • Instance Hypernyms: ↑desert • Part Holonyms: ↑Saudi Arabia, ↑Kingdom of Saudi Arabi …   Useful english dictionary

  • Great Sandy Desert — Great′ Sand′y Des′ert n. 1) geg a desert in NW Australia; ab. 160,000 sq. mi. (414,400 sq. km) 2) geg Rub al Khali …   From formal English to slang

  • Great Sandy Desert — 1. a desert in NW Australia, ab. 300 mi. (485 km) long; 500 mi. (800 km) wide; ab. 160,000 sq. mi. (414,400 sq. km). 2. See Rub al Khali. * * * Wasteland, northern Western Australia. It extends from Eighty Mile Beach on the Indian Ocean eastward… …   Universalium

  • Great Sandy Desert — noun a large, extremely arid desert area in northern inland WA south of the Kimberley region and north of the Tropic of Capricorn …   Australian English dictionary

  • Great Sandy Desert — Die Große Sandwüste bezeichnet zwei Wüsten der Erde: Große Sandwüste (Australien) Große Sandwüste (USA) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Great Australian Desert — noun general name given to all desert areas in Australia • Syn: ↑Australian Desert • Instance Hypernyms: ↑desert • Part Holonyms: ↑Australia • Part Meronyms: ↑outback, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Great Arabian Desert — noun a desert on the Arabian Peninsula in southwestern Asia • Syn: ↑Arabian Desert • Instance Hypernyms: ↑desert • Part Holonyms: ↑Arabian Peninsula, ↑Arabia • Part Meronyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • Great Basin Desert — Desert The Great Basin Desert is generally within the Great Basin, except for a few areas outside of the Great Basin in south central Utah and east centra …   Wikipedia

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