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Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre

Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, formerly Lake Eyre, shallow salt lake, central South Australia state, Australia. The lake, in fact two lakes connected by a channel, is the continent's lowest point (49 ft/15 m below sea level in the lakebed). Located in the arid interior of Australia, the lake is normally mostly a dry salt pan, but about once every 50 years, when it completely fills, it is the largest lake (3,430 sq mi/8,880 sq km) in Australia. During an above-normal rainy season, numerous stream beds carry floodwaters into the lake, which is located an area of interior drainage and has no outlet, but more often the runoff fails to reach the lake.

In 1840 the lake was named after Edward John Eyre , the first European to visit it. A move in 1995 to designate the lake's basin as a world heritage site pitted environmentalists and the federal government against the state government and parties concerned with pastoral and mining rights. In 2012 the Arabana aborigines' native title to Lake Eyre was recognized as part of a decision involving nearly 27,000 sq mi (70,000 sq km) of South Australia, and the name of the lake was officially changed to include the indigenous name.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Australian and New Zealand Physical Geography

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