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Lake Eyre

Lake Eyre is 15 metres below sea level and usually contains only salt. It is one of the world’s greatest salt lakes and the centre of a huge internal draining system, while being located in the driest part of the Australian continent. In flood years, it fills for a very short time and then undergoes a period of rapid growth and fertility: long-dormant marine creatures multiply and large flocks of water birds arrive to feed and raise their young before the waters recede and evaporate once more. When soaking rain does fall on the dry land the effect is simply amazing – flowers bloom and plants grow at a fast pace in order to complete their life cycles before the relentless drought returns. There is even a species of frog that holds water, remaining in the ground for years on end, only to pop up when the rain comes again. None of the creeks and rivers in the Lake Eyre Basin are permanent; they flow only after heavy rain – a very rare event in the dry interior of Australia. Roads can be either washed out or turned into mud like glue. To provide a sense of scale, the Lake Eyre Basin is about the equivalent of the size of France, Germany and Italy combined.