STS048-083-077 Gibson Desert, Australia September 1991
Although western Australia has hundreds of highly reflective dry lakebeds (salt flats), this area offers a unique white "U" chain of dry lakes in this hostile desert environment. Some of the lakes are named--Lake Dora, the larger lake along the western tip of the U, and Lake Auld, the elongated eastern lake. Lake Dora is part of the Rudall River National Park, an isolated park in which scientific studies are encouraged and tourism is discouraged. Located between the Great Sandy Desert to the north and the Gibson Desert to the south, the entire area is characterized by dry sand dunes and sand ridges with some grass and desert vegetation scattered across the landscape. The mottled terrain reflects burn scars caused by range fires that usually result from lightning strikes of severe thunderstorms that infrequently occur in the desert environment.
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