The Pilbara is a large, dry, thinly populated region in the north of Western Australia known for its Aboriginal peoples, its landscapes, the red earth and its vast mineral deposits, in particular iron ore. The region has an estimated population of just around 50,000.
The Pilbara covers an area of 502,000 km², which includes some of Earth's oldest rock formations. It includes landscapes of coastal plains and mountain ranges with cliffs and gorges.
The climate of the Pilbara is arid and tropical. It experiences high temperatures and low irregular rainfall that follows the summer cyclones. During the summer months, maximum temperatures exceed 32 °C almost every day, and temperatures in excess of 45 °C are not uncommon. The Pilbara town of Marble Bar set a world record of most consecutive days of maximum temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) or more, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.
The average annual rainfall in the region is between 200 to 350 millimetres. Flooding is a major hazard in the Pilbara with periods of torrential rainfall between November and May. Like most of the north coast of Australia, the coastal areas of the Pilbara experience occasional tropical cyclones. The frequency of cyclones crossing the Pilbara coast is about 7 every 10 years. Due to the relatively low population density in the Pilbara region, cyclones rarely cause large scale destruction or loss of life.
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