Great Artesian Basin

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Great Artesian Basin,

c.670,000 sq mi (1,735,300 sq km), between the Eastern Highlands and the Western Plateau, E central Australia, extending S from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, to NE South Australia and N New South Wales. It is the world's largest artesian water-bearing area. The arid basin receives water from the Eastern Highlands as rain is absorbed by porous rock and flows underground toward the center of the saucer-shaped basin. Thousands of wells, some over 1 mi (1.6 km) deep, tap underground water-bearing rock formations. The rolling surface of the basin supports a pastoral economy mainly based on livestock watering systems. The highly mineralized artesian water cannot be used for agriculture.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Great Artesian Basin


the largest artesian basin in Australia, the second largest in the world (after the Western Siberian in the USSR). Area, 1,736,000 sq km.

The Great Artesian Basin stretches for more than 2,200 km from the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria to the central section of the Darling River and is almost 1,800 km broad from west to east in the southern section, which is the widest. It was formed by the downwarp of an ancient crystal basis, which had been filled with sedimentary layers up to 2,500 m thick, dating from the Paleozoic to the Neocene periods. The main water-bearing layers are Mesozoic sandstone.

Groundwater is replenished mainly by atmospheric precipitation, which falls on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range (approximately 625 mm annually). The waters, which often have mineral content, collect at a great depth (up to 2,000 m); in the region of Eyre Lake, mineral springs are frequent at the surface. Their temperature increases in proportion to the layer at which they lie, on the average, 1°C for each 32.5 m. The highest temperature (110° C) is found in Queensland. Most wells are in the arid cattle-raising region, where water is pumped to the surface and protected from evaporation in closed water cisterns. The basin is also used as a water supply for industrial purposes as far as the mineral content will permit.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"We met yesterday with People for the Plains, a group of farmers deeply concerned about what is happening to their water supply and the Great Artesian Basin.
The reduction is because the majority of open flowing bores and drain networks in Queensland have now been shut down and replaced with pipe networks under the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI), which commenced ~20 years ago.
In fact it was not entirely true that central Australia was waterless; a huge lake did exist, not on the surface but hidden beneath the arid heart of the continent: the Great Artesian Basin (Fig.
A sampling of topics: changing climate and saltwater intrusion in the Egypt's Nile Delta, climate variability impacts on the water resources in Morocco's Draa basin, global warming and urbanization influences on surface/subsurface temperature and cherry blooming in Japan, and verification of 4He and 3<s>6Cl dating of very old groundwater in Australia's Great Artesian Basin.
'Since the heyday of the Great Artesian Basin [a vast aquifer running from the Great Dividing Range to Lake Eyre] when you could drill a bore and hey presto, there was water, Australians have held something of a "magic pudding" attitude to underground resources,' says Matt Kendall, General Manager of the National Water Commission's water science group.
This mine consumes 35 million liters of water each day from the Great Artesian Basin, yet does not pay a cent for this water.
This may result in a localized reduction of water pressure in the Great Artesian Basin followed by reduced flows and, in rare instances, spring extinction (Kinhill Engineers 1997).
Process water will be easily supplied since the deposit sits above the vast resource of the Great Artesian Basin. Environmental problems should be minimal as Julia Creek is situated in fiat, cleared country with no native title impediments and remote from sensitive coastal environments.
After seven enjoyable years he decided to study recent marine sedimentation in the epicontinental Baltic Sea, a modern analogue for the marine Cretaceous sequences of the Australian Great Artesian Basin, and went off to Kiel University in Germany to earn a Ph.D.
[24] undertook one of the few studies in arid central Australia and used both chloride and stable isotopes of water to determine the palaeohydrogeology of the western Great Artesian Basin (GAB).