Channel Country Queensland Australia
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Channel Country, Queensland, Australia

May 27, 2003
Geologists refer to the 1.3-million-square-kilometer (500,000-square-mile) region in southwestern Queensland, Australia, as “Channel Country.” The name derives from the complex network of riverbeds and streams coursing through the relatively flat terrain, made mostly of clay. The portions of the Burke and Hamilton Rivers shown in this false-color satellite image are typical of the branching outflow patterns (called alluvial fans) commonly found in Channel Country. The image shows an area where rivers emerge from highlands surrounding the Lake Eyre drainage basin. Weather patterns over these highlands vary through the seasons. Winters are generally very dry, while the air in summertime becomes much more humid, bringing monsoon rains like those found in the tropics. Annual rain accumulation reaches about 50 cm (20 inches) in the Great Dividing Range, situated to the east of this scene. The rains come in intermittent bursts and so the streams shown in this scene are short-lived,

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