The Simpson Desert is underlain by the Great Artesian Basin, water from which rises to the surface at numerous natural springs, including Dalhousie Springs, and at bores drilled along stock routes, or during gas and oil exploration. As a result of exploitation by such bores, the flow of water to springs has been steadily decreasing in recent years.
The Simpson Desert is an erg which contains the world’s longest parallel sand dunes. These north-south oriented dunes are static, held in position by vegetation. They vary in height from 3 metres in the west to around 30 metres on the eastern side. The most famous dune, Nappanerica, or, more popularly, Big Red (named by Simpson Desert traveller Dennis Bartell), is 40 metres in height.
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