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Oodnadatta Track: Sand Dunes

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Oodnadatta Track ~ Sand Dunes ~ Images of Australia
The wide open changing landscape in the vast centre of Australia's outback is magnificent. As you travel its breadth by motor vehicle, the vista can change from endless flat stony plains to sand dunes and flat top mesa hills and low lying ranges.

Sand Dunes
Whilst sand dunes are features of many locations along Australian coastlines, sand dunes are one of the magnificent features in the heart of Australia. Stretching across state and territory border, there are huge expanses of sand, with places like the Great Victoria Desert, Gibson Desert and the Simpson Desert.

So how have these sand dunes come about? Much of central Australia sand dunes has resulted from the low elevations, the widespread deposit of sediment, the aridity and the extremes of a wildly fluctuating climate over the last million years. Current conjecture by geologists suggest that the dunes were formed in the last 8,000 to 10,000 years, whilst others suggest a longer time span of 200,000 years.

So why do dunes vary so much in colour? Most dunes are brownish pink or brick red; some are yellow-brown or grey brown; others near Lake Eyre are much lighter. The lighter-coloured dunes are generally found closer to the source areas of the sand. For example, where they have blown in from flood plains along Eyre's Creek and Goyder's Lagoon, they are white or light yellow. In general, dunes that are a long way from the primary source are red to dark red in colour and more stable. The longer the sands remain in the aeolian (wind blown) environment, the redder they become as a result of oxidisation and the release of iron oxide form within the small clay fraction in the sands. The lighter coloured dunes support less vegetation because of their stability and lack of nutrients.1

More information about the Oodnadatta Track and the many locations along the route.

Oodnadatta Track - Gibber Plains - Snapshots from South Australia

Sand dunes and sandhill canegrass - Oodnadatta Track
Sand dunes and sandhill canegrass along the Oodnadatta Track.
From gibber plains to sand dunes and flat top mesas
The changing outback landscape from gibber plains to sand dunes and flat top mesas along the Oodnadatta Track.
Flat sandy gibber country of the Oodnadatta Track
Flat sandy stony gibber country of the Oodnadatta Track.
Gibber plains and sandhill of the Oodnadatta Track
Gibber plains and sandhill of the Oodnadatta Track.
 
Photos © Ausemade Pty Ltd


Source:
1 Government of South Australia - SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management: Publications & Resources - Tourism brochures: The Oodnadatta Track - String of Springs (PDF)
 
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