Landsat 5 data, acquired over the Gulf of Carpentaria, illustrate the dramatic effects of flooding in this northern region of Australia.
The coastal area of the Gulf is a major resort area, as well as a source for extensive bauxite and manganese excavation. The (left to right) Nicholson, Leichhart, Flinders, and Carron Rivers drain from the central lowlands of Queensland into the Gulf, eventually flowing into the Arafura Sea. The light tone along the sea coast shows the rare example of an epicontinental sea, a shallow sea on top of the continent extension.
The October 3, 2010, image shows the drainage from the rivers (in shades of blue) into the beach and salt flats along the coast. The January 23, 2011, image shows the effects of historic rainfall upstream. Blue tones show the inundation of coastal lands and turbidity masking the subsurface continental shelf.
The Landsat data provide a permanent record of land surface change, which shows the rising and eventual falling of river levels and the effects of flooding on mining and recreational development.