Simpson Desert, Australia

After Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent in the world. About 35 per cent of the land is desert.

What causes the deserts?
The Great Dividing Range, a chain of mountains which runs along the east coast from north to south blocks rainfall and moisture from the Pacific Ocean causing the inland of Australia to be mostly scrublands and deserts.

Simpson Desert is a hot and dry desert occupying almost 200 000 square kilometres of central Australia, mostly in the Northern Territory's south-east but also in parts of South Australia and Queensland. Rainfall is less than 400 millimeters per year.

There's a detailed map here

Read more about hot and dry desert biomes in kidcyber here

A feature of the Queensland Simpson Desert National Park, a protected area which covers an area of 10 000 square kilometres, are the parallel, wind-blown sand dunes which can be up to 20 metres high and 200 kilometres long. Between the dunes, which can also be a kilometre apart, the land is claypans and saltpans, sand drifts and plains, and in eastern areas, stony flats. Dust storms are common in dry times.

More pictures of the Simpson Desert here

Although the Simpson Desert is a harsh environment, native, spiny grasses known as spinefex bind the loose sand and provide a habitat for over 180 bird species and for lizards and marsupials.

A kowari, a small carnivorous marsupial which lives in the Simpson Desert
Read about the kowari in kidcyber here


See a picture from space of the Simpson Desert

This site has information about biodiversity of the desert, and information about environmental impact of mining, grazing and feral animals:

Here you will find information about the Simpson and many other deserts in Australia: about the climate and about land systems there

Acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Thomas, Ron & Sydenham, Shirley. Simpson Desert [Online] (2008)

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updated August 2012 © kidcyber