Australia is not in vain called the most arid continent of the earth. About forty percent of its territory is occupied by deserts. And the largest of them is called: Victoria. This desert is located in the southern and western parts of the continent. It is difficult to clearly identify its borders and thereby determine the area. Indeed, from the north, another desert adjoins it - Gibson.
What causes such dryness in Australia? The proximity of Antarctica, the monsoon climate of Asia and the specifics of the Pacific Ocean contribute to the fact that there is little rainfall over the southwestern part of the continent. But that is not all. There are no springs or rivers in the Victoria Desert. This circumstance makes it the most severe human habitat. But people still live there. And not only brave researchers. Read about this amazing and mysterious world of the Victoria Desert in this article.
Just think: a little less than half of Australia - continuous deserts. And the rest of the regions are also very arid. Only the extreme north of the mainland, located in the equatorial climatic zone, and the east, where the mountains rise, do not lack heavenly moisture. Surprisingly, most deserts are located in the subtropics. These particularly arid regions are divided into types. Distinguish foothill, clay, sand, rocky deserts and plain. What type is Victoria? This desert is a sandy salt marsh. It is surrounded by large lakes. But the salinity in them is the same as the water on Mars can be. Nevertheless, scientists found living organisms and bacteria in the gypsum water of these lakes. Sand deserts are the most common. They occupy thirty-two percent of the continent.
Great Victoria Desert
It would seem that something interesting and poetic can be in the withered winds that carry salt from the lakes, and in the earth burnt by the sun? But the tourists who visited there bring such wonderful photographs that it seems as if they traveled to another planet, and not one. Southeastern and northwestern winds lay sand with ideal parallel folds, painting these stripes in lilac, ash, gold, purple and brown.
Despite the fact that there is not a single source, the Victoria Desert (photo shows this) does not look uninhabited. Here, albeit in small numbers, such aboriginal tribes of Australia as the cogar and myrning live. There is also a town here - Coober Pedy. We will talk about him a little later, but for now we only indicate that his name translates as "White People under the Earth." The desert also has its own natural park. In Mamungari you can watch rare reptiles, animals, birds.
Where is the Victoria Desert
A huge natural landscape with an area of 424,400 square kilometers spreads over the territory of two states: Western and Southern Australia. From the north to Victoria adjoins another desert - Gibson. From the south, it is outlined by the arid plain of Nullarbor. From east to west, the Victoria Desert stretches for more than seven hundred kilometers. And its length from north to south reaches 500 km. One can only imagine the courage of the English explorer Ernest Giles, who in 1875 was the first to cross these sands. He called the largest desert on the continent the name of the then Queen of Great Britain. It rains here annually from 200 to 250 millimeters. Snow was not recorded throughout the meteorological observations. The oral traditions of the natives also do not convey any information about the precipitation of solid precipitation over the desert. However, thunderstorms often erupt over Victoria. They happen fifteen, or even twenty times a year. In summer, the temperature reaches +40 degrees Celsius. Not cold in the winter months. In June-August, the thermometer shows from eighteen to twenty-three degrees with a plus sign.
It is generally accepted that the sandy desert is endless dunes. But Victoria is not like that. This desert is a thicket of unpretentious acacias and prickly drought-resistant spinifex plants. In lowlands, where groundwater is close to the surface, eucalyptus trees even grow. When rare rain falls, the desert transforms. Out of nowhere, flowers appear, grasses turn green, which looks fantastic against the background of red sand. Therefore, Victoria is a fully protected area in the state of Western Australia. And in the south there is a biosphere reserve Mamungari.
Flora and fauna
Continent Australia itself is very isolated from other continents. As a result, its flora and fauna is unique. Victoria is even more isolated from other natural landscapes in Australia. The desert is inhabited by endemic species, species that are found only here and nowhere else. From the plant kingdom one can recall kangaroo grass, soleros, kohiya, hodgepodge.
Desert fauna does not shine with species diversity. The most common species in the Victoria Desert is the kangaroo rat. With a large marsupial animal (the symbol of Australia), this jerboa has nothing in common except for a similar structure of muscular hind legs. Of the mammals in the desert, there is a dingo dog and a bandicoot - a marsupial animal resembling a rabbit. The reserve is inhabited by budgerigars and emu ostriches. Nine of the top 10 most poisonous snake species live in Australia. The most dangerous is Aspid Taipan. This brown snake with red eyes also has an extremely aggressive disposition, attacking even when it is not threatened. A lethal outcome was achieved in one hundred percent of cases: in small animals instantly, in humans - in five hours. But formidable in appearance, all the spiked lizard moloch is not at all dangerous.
Victoria Desert is not deserted. It is inhabited by groups of aborigines, which belong to the tribes of Mirning and Kogar according to the ethnographic type. They belong to the australoid race. But, nevertheless, among them often come across people with natural blond hair. Such blondes are not the result of intermarriages with Anglo-Saxons or Scandinavians. This is a mutation that arose in antiquity, and which was fixed in desert communities isolated from other tribes.
The natives of Australia in the early twentieth century were on the verge of extinction. But now their number, thanks to the changed government policy, has again increased to five hundred thousand people. Desert natives practice traditional hunting and gathering.
Coober Pedy Underground City
The Victoria Desert in Australia is considered the capital of opals. About thirty percent of all world reserves of this stone are concentrated here. Miners occupied developed pits under ... dwellings. After all, underground is a very comfortable temperature all year round +22 degrees. So gradually an underground town appeared on the site of the mines, which the amazed natives called Coober Pedy. The first trees the inhabitants made of iron. They either plastered the rooms or covered with PVA glue - then the beautiful texture of the stone was visible. The films “Black Hole”, “The Adventures of Priscilla”, “Mad Max 3” and others were shot in Coober Pedy. Interestingly, in the arid desert of Victoria there are caves filled with water. Malamulang and Koklbiddi are centers of diving enthusiasts. And in the cave of Kunalda, you can see cave paintings of ancient aborigines.