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142 million years ago, an asteroid or comet slammed into what is now the Missionary Plains in the Northern Territory, forming a crater 24 km (15 mi) in diameter. Due to erosion, the crater rim has been reduced to only 5 km (3 mi). Today, like a bull's eye, the circular ring of hills that defines Gosses Bluff (image center) stands as a stark reminder of the event shown in this high-resolution satellite photo. Image courtesy of USGS.
A false-color satellite image  of Lake Disappointment, an ephemeral salt lake surrounded by sand dunes in one of the most remote areas of Western Australia. An early explorer supposedly named the lake in 1897 after following a number of creeks that he thought would lead to a large lake; they did, but the lake's extremely salty water was not drinkable. Image courtesy of USGS.
A view of the northern coast of Western Australia shows the low lying coastal plains that surround much of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Western Australia. Large plumes of sediment have been washed into the Cambridge Gulf, probably from the Victoria River, which flows into the Gulf just outside the area of the photo. Image courtesy of NASA.
False-color satellite image shows a portion of the Kimberley Plateau, situated north of the Great Sandy Desert in a remote stretch of the province of Western Australia. In this scene, the Durack, Chamberlain, and Ord Rivers wind their way northward to the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. The long elongated water bodies in the north are backwaters from the Timor Sea. The reddish brown patches are fire scars in the otherwise densely-vegetated (green) area. During the summer months, lightning strikes can quickly spark dozens of wildfires across Australia's Western and Northern Territories, giving the landscape its mottled appearance. Image courtesy of NASA.
Over the Kimberley Region of northern Western Australia, satellite sensors and airplane passengers alike can see a giant arachnid sprawling over the arid landscape. This spider is not just big, it is old. This prehistoric monster crawls out of the past as if to remind us of the destructive power of the cosmos. In this false-color satellite image Spider Crater and the surrounding arid landscape appear in varying shades of crimson. Water appears blue-black, namely in the meandering river near the bottom edge of the image. Vegetation appears in shades of red. While vegetation looks sparse throughout the area, the intense red dots along the river indicate fairly lush - if intermittent - vegetation lining the riverbanks.

Strongly deformed layers of sedimentary rock give evidence of that the structure was formed by extraterrestrial trauma. Spider Crater rests in a depression some 13 by 11 km (8 by 7 mi) across. Meteorite craters often have central areas of uplift, and Spider Crater fits this pattern, with a central dome roughly 500 m (1,640 ft) in diameter. Radiating from this central dome are features unusual in impact craters in general, but important in giving this crater its nickname. Overlapping beds of tough sandstone that have weathered the elements far better than the surrounding rocks form the spider's "legs." So while Spider Crater sits in a depression and has a central uplift area characteristic of impact craters, it shows extreme differences in erosion, giving it a unique appearance. The age of Spider Crater is uncertain, but its formation has been estimated to fall between 900 and 600 million years ago. Image courtesy of NASA.
In a small corner of the vast Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia, large sand dunes - the only sand in this desert of scrub and rock - appear as lines stretching from left to right in this enhanced satellite image. The light-colored fan shapes are scars from wildfires. Image courtesy of USGS.
Resembling splotches of yellow and green paint, salt-encrusted seasonal lakes - the largest of which is Lake Teague - dot the floor of the Shoemaker impact crater in this enhanced satellite image. Formerly known as the Teague Ring, the structure was formed about 1.7 billion years ago and is currently the oldest known impact site in Australia. Image courtesy of USGS.
Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park hosts some of the world's most spectacular examples of inselbergs, or isolated mountains. The most famous of these inselbergs is Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). An equally massive inselberg located approximately 30 km (20 mi) to the northwest is known as Kata Tjuta. Like Uluru, this is a sacred site to the native Anangu or Aboriginal people. An English-born explorer named the highest peak Mount Olga, with the entire grouping of rocks informally known as "the Olgas." Mount Olga has a peak elevation of 1,069 m (3,507 ft) above sea level, making it 206 m (676 ft) higher than Uluru.
In this astronaut photograph, afternoon sunlight highlights the rounded summits of Kata Tjuta against the surrounding sandy plains. Sand dunes are visible in the lower left, while in other areas (bottom and right) sediments washed from the rocks have been anchored by a variety of grasses and bushes adapted to the arid climate. Green vegetation in the ephemeral stream channels that drain Kata Tjuta (top center) provides colorful contrast with the red rocks and surrounding soils. Large gaps in the rocks (highlighted by shadows) are thought to be fractures that have been enlarged due to erosion. Image courtesy of NASA.
Sandy Cape and part of Fraser Island may be seen in this image photographed from the International Space Station. Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island, includes Great Sandy National Park and is located along the coastline of Queensland. The island was designated a World Heritage site in 1992, in part due to its outstanding preservation of geological processes related to sand dune formation. Image courtesy of NASA.
This view of northeast Australia taken by the Aqua satellite vividly shows the many offshore reefs that together form the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef stretches more than 2,000 km (1,240 mi) along the coast of Queensland and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between the reefs and the coastline bands of brown-green "streamers" may be discerned. These are blue-green bacteria (cyanobacteria) that form long overlapping strands and films that can cover immense areas becoming visible even from space. Sailors have long called these brown streamers "sea sawdust." Image courtesy of NASA.
A closer view of some of the northern reefs in the Great Barrier Reef where the continental shelf is relatively narrow and the reefs closer to shore. Image courtesy of NASA.
Space shuttle photo shows the Pompey Island Group in the Southern Great Barrier Reef off Australia. Ocean flow between the islands produces unique wash features in the structures of the island banks. Image courtesy of NASA.
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