Is this a desert?
The riverine plains of inland Queensland are flat and extensive. Rainfall is quite low on average around 400mm per annum, though not low enough to be classed as a desert. There are regular long droughts. However, the rivers that carry major floods about 1 in 10 years spread their multiple channels across the plain, and water from local heavy rain also moves overland at depths of up to 1 metre or more. The large scale farmers and agri-business enterprises have learnt to harvest the overland flows, to pump and divert large volumes of water from the floods in the river channels and to conserve water by using particular techniques of applying water to their crops (cotton, grapes, sorghum, fodder sorghum, rockmelons, water melons, maize, sweet corn, sunflower, and others). To store the water that is harvested large "ring tanks" (though today most are not circular) are constructed. The walls are created from clay soil removed from the outside of the tank thus creating a wide trench which not only catches the overland flows of runoff but is used as a reservoir as well. As water flows into the perimeter moat it is pumped by large pumps into the interior of the ring tank. In this photograph, one is looking from the wall of the recently filled ring tank to the far side. The largest water storages in this area of the Balonne River floodplains is 6kms x 4kms and there may be more than one such ring tank on a particular farm.
I will be uploading a series of images of these huge ring tanks, and the agriculture that is productive on these riverine clay plains.
Google Earth images reveal some of these ring tanks (though they are square or rectangular), though this is an expanding activity in this area and some of them have been constructed since the imagery that GE has uploaded. This ring tank is full in the photograph but contains only some water in the south-eatsern corner of the storage area on the GE location image.
The photographs I have taken recently were taken as some of the ring tanks were filled, and others were storing some water after recent widespread rain over the catchments of the Balonne and Maranoa Rivers.
... and so interesting comments !
Again, Ian, a wonderful minimalist shot with fascinating narration. I'll be sharing all of these with Hugh, who will be very interested. (He may want to go back to Australia to see for himself!) Marilyn
My Dear Annick (to qoute Evangelos), it is the conversations that have attracted me into this network as much as the affirming and refining of photography. And Marilyn has just referred ot the widening use of Panoramio, and one of them is the educating of each other about bits of the planet we each know. I am pleased that you appreciated the commentary. I was a geographer and still a teacher, so this is par on my course, but not everyone who is interested in photography needs to know what they are photographing - after all a reflection is a reflection, and the sun my be a star but it is just a beautiful sunset when it is photographed...not a bit of astronomy.
Hugh you are welcome to come back. If interested in this watery landscape you may like to Google "Cubbie Station" - the colossus in the area. I will post some Cubbie Station images dedicated to Hugh Whitely.
Greetings to you all. Ian
To Majlend Bramo,
I am sorry my friend, but in re-reading your comment and question, you asked if this was a desert? In re-reading your remark, I think now that you first thought you were looking across flat soil to the distant horizon. It is water. I am sorry if I misunderstood, but what is shown in the photogrpah is one of the huge water storages that a farmer has built. This area is not desert normally for it is naturally forested, but it is in an area where there are very long periods without any runoff, and then short periods when great quantities of water may flow across the country. It is this water that is harvested in such large storages. Ian
Ok! In my first visit I thought it was a sand desert just for the color and the flatness; thanks for the answer, very clear,
I am glad I could clarify that Majlend. If you look at the accompanying GE image, you will see that it is showing a large island of foerest still standing but surrounded by a lot of pulled or fallen forest. In my photo, the whole area has been entirely cleared and is now storing water pumped from the perimeter moats that fill when there is overland runoff.
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Photo taken in St George QLD 4487, Australia
Misplaced? Suggest new location