The Channel Country, a region of wide fluvial plains criss-crossed by a reticulate pattern of anastomosing channels, and the adjacent sand dunes and clay pans of the Lake Eyre drainage basin occupy an area of 1.3 × 106 km2 of internal drainage in the arid east-central part of Australia. Beneath a surface of skin of mud, the sediment of the Channel Country is sand and some mud in the floodplain, as well as in levees and channels. The surface mud represents the overbank deposits of meandering channels that are superimposed on sheet sands of a relict braided system. With the other sediments (aeolian sand and lacustrine mud) of the Lake Eyre drainage basin, the Channel Country sediments represent the latest phase of deposition of the Cainozoic Birdsville Basin, which was initiated as an interior basin behind the dismembered rifted arch of the divergent Pacific margin. In their depositional and tectonic setting, the arid sediments of central-eastern Australia are modern analogues of the Mesozoic desert sands and other non-marine sediments that were deposited behind the pre-breakup arch and post-breakup half-arch of South America. The preceding Mesozoic Great Artesian Basin of central-eastern Australia contains volcanogenic sediment and was covered for a short time by an epeiric sea; its deposition was influenced by an uplift along the convergent Pacific margin, and it is analogous to other Gondwana basins in Antarctica, southern Africa, and South America that were yoked to the convergent Pacific margin.