Unusual Facts About Deserts
Despite the hot and arid conditions, deserts are not entirely lifeless. Many plants, animals, and insects have adapted to survive in this harsh environment, including cacti, succulents, snakes, lizards, scorpions, and spiders.
The Sahara Desert in Africa is the world’s largest hot desert, covering an area of approximately 3.6 million square miles (9.4 million square kilometers).
Deserts are not always hot. The Gobi Desert in Asia and the Antarctic Desert are both cold deserts, with temperatures that can drop well below freezing.
Some deserts experience extreme temperature variations, with daytime temperatures soaring above 120°F (49°C) and nighttime temperatures plummeting below freezing.
The Namib Desert in Africa is home to the Welwitschia plant, which is one of the world’s oldest living plants and can survive for over 2,000 years.
Some deserts are covered in ice and snow all year round, such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica, which is the driest place on Earth.
The Atacama Desert in South America is one of the driest places on Earth and is often used as a testing ground for Mars missions due to its extreme conditions, which are similar to those found on the Red Planet.
The Sonoran Desert in North America is home to the world’s smallest cactus, the pincushion cactus, which is only one inch tall when fully grown.
Some deserts, such as the Mojave Desert in North America, are home to numerous military training facilities due to their vast, open spaces and harsh conditions that can simulate combat environments.
The sand dunes in the Sahara Desert can reach heights of up to 590 feet (180 meters) and can move up to 50 feet (15 meters) per year due to the shifting winds.
Antarctica is the largest desert in the world, even though it is covered in ice.
The Sahara Desert is not the largest desert in the world, but it is the largest hot desert.
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California is the only place in the world where the saguaro cactus grows.
The Gobi Desert in Mongolia is the coldest desert in the world, with temperatures reaching below -40°C.
The Namib Desert in Africa is one of the oldest deserts in the world, with an estimated age of over 55 million years.
The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the driest deserts in the world, with some parts of it not receiving any rainfall for over 400 years.
The Arabian Desert is home to the world’s largest sand desert, the Rub’ al Khali, which covers an area of about 250,000 square miles (650,000 square kilometers).
Some deserts, such as the Mojave Desert in California, have hidden underground water sources that support diverse ecosystems.
The deserts of the American Southwest are home to the phenomenon known as “singing sand dunes,” where the sand emits a musical sound when it is disturbed by wind or footsteps.
The Kalahari Desert in Africa is not actually a desert in the traditional sense, as it receives more rainfall than the minimum required to be classified as a desert.
The world’s largest hot desert is the Sahara, covering an area of 3.6 million square miles across North Africa.
Despite being one of the driest places on Earth, some deserts do receive rain. For example, the Atacama Desert in Chile only receives rainfall once every few years, but when it does rain, the desert blooms with flowers.
The driest place on Earth is the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. It’s considered a desert because it receives less than 10 inches of snow each year.
The Namib Desert in southern Africa is home to the world’s oldest desert, with an estimated age of 55-80 million years.
The world’s largest cold desert is the Antarctic Desert, which covers an area of 5.5 million square miles.
Some deserts are home to some of the world’s tallest sand dunes. For example, the tallest dune in the world, Duna Grande, can be found in the Atacama Desert and stands at a height of over 3,000 feet.
The Gobi Desert in Asia is home to the only desert-dwelling bear species, called the Gobi bear or the Mazaalai.
The world’s largest underground lake, the Guiness Lake, can be found beneath the surface of the Rub’ al Khali desert in the Arabian Peninsula.
Many deserts are rich in minerals and resources. For example, the Mojave Desert in California is home to one of the world’s largest reserves of borax, which is used in many household products.
The Sonoran Desert in North America is home to the saguaro cactus, which can grow to be over 60 feet tall and live for up to 200 years.