Great Victoria Desert, Australia's largest desert, c. 163,900 sq mi (424,400 sq km), South Australia and Western Australia states. Forming the southern belt of the Western Australia desert, it lies S of the Gibson Desert, W of the Tirary and the Sturt Stony deserts, E of East Coolgardie Goldfield, and N of Nullarbor Plain. Consisting of sand dunes, scrub, and salt marshes, it was named for Queen Victoria by Ernest Giles, who in 1875 was the first European to cross it. Precipitation is sparse and unreliable, with some areas receiving only occasional thunderstorms. The desert is crossed by the 700-mi (1,126-km) Great Central Road.
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