The GULF OF CARPENTARIA (14°S 139°E / 14°S 139°E / -14;
139 Coordinates : 14°S 139°E / 14°S 139°E / -14; 139 ) is
a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern
At its mouth, the Gulf is 590 km wide, and further south, 675 km. The
north-south length exceeds 700 km. It covers a water area of about
300,000 km². The general depth is between 55 and 66 metres (30 and 36
fm ) and does not exceed 82 metres (45 fm). The tidal range in the
Gulf of Carpentaria
* 1 European exploration * 2 Geography * 3 Coral reefs * 4 Major rivers
* 5 Industry
* 5.1 Major port plan
* 6 Physiography * 7 References * 8 External links
The first known European explorer to visit the region was the Dutch Willem Janszoon _(whose name is also written as Jansz)_ in his 1605–6 voyage . His fellow countryman, Jan Carstenszoon (or _Carstensz_), visited in 1623 and named the gulf in honour of Pieter de Carpentier , at that time the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies . Abel Tasman also explored the coast in 1644. The region was later explored and charted by Matthew Flinders in 1802 and 1803.
The first overland expedition to reach the Gulf was the Burke and
Wills expedition , led by Robert O\'Hara Burke and William John Wills
The land bordering the Gulf is generally flat and low-lying. To the
Arnhem Land , the
Top End of the Northern Territory, and
Groote Eylandt , the largest island in the Gulf. To the east is the
Cape York Peninsula and
The climate is hot and humid with two seasons per year. The dry season lasts from about April until November and is characterized by very dry southeast to east winds, generated by migratory winter high pressure systems to the south. The wet season lasts from December to March. Most of the year's rainfall is compressed into these months, and during this period, many low-lying areas are flooded. The Gulf is prone to tropical cyclones during the period between November and April. The gulf experiences an average of three cyclones each year that are thought to transport sediments in a clockwise direction along the Gulf's coast.
In many other parts of Australia, there are dramatic climatic
transitions over fairly short distances. The
Great Dividing Range ,
which parallels the entire east and south-east coast, is responsible
for the typical pattern of a well-watered coastal strip, a fairly
narrow band of mountains, and then a vast, inward-draining plain that
receives little rainfall. In the Gulf Country, however, there are no
mountains to restrict rainfall to the coastal band and the transition
from the profuse tropical growth of the seaside areas to the arid
scrubs of central
In September and October the Morning Glory cloud appears in the Southern Gulf. The best vantage point to see this phenomenon is in the Burketown area shortly after dawn.
It has been hypothesized that the Gulf experienced a major asteroid impact event in 536 A.D.
Gulf of Carpentaria
In the Top End the Roper River , Walker River and Wilton River flow into the Gulf. The Cox River , Calvert River , Leichhardt River , McArthur River , Flinders River , Norman River and the Gilbert River drain the Gulf Country. A number of rivers flow from the Cape York Peninsula into the Gulf, including Smithburne River , Mitchell River , Alice River , Staaten River , Mission River, Wenlock River and Archer River .
Extensive areas of seagrass beds have allowed commercial shrimp
operations in the Gulf. Zinc, lead and silver is mined from the
McArthur River zinc mine and exported via the Gulf. Another zinc mine,
Century Zinc is in the gulf on the
According to the then Chairman of the Gulf of Carpentaria's Commercial Fisherman's Organisation, Gary Ward, the number of sightings of Indonesian vessels fishing illegally in the gulf's waters increased in early 2005. By 2011 the numbers of illegal fishing boat interceptions had declined significantly with the cause attributed to enforcement efforts and education programs in Indonesia.
MAJOR PORT PLAN
In 2012, a major new port located to the west of