Coober Pedy was discovered in 1915. This is where the 'white' or 'milky' opals (generally known as 'light opal') are mined. Until recently, Coober Pedy was the main producer of precious opal, which is why it is predominantly seen in stores overseas, particularly in the USA.
Today, the opal fields encompass an area of approximately 45 kilometres. The opal level is formed of soft pinkish clay mixed with soft bleached sandstone.
The name Coober Pedy is derived from the Aboriginal word kupa piti, which when loosely translated means "White Man in a Hole". An isolated and rugged location, Coober Pedy is blessed with freezing nights, days where the average temperature seldom drops below 40¡C, and bush flies by the million. Coober Pedy is too hot for life to exist comfortably on the surface, so homes were made in underground burrows, which gave the field its name. Virtual palaces have been built underground, providing a constant temperature of between 21C and 26C.