Thinking about the desert perhaps the first image that pops into our heads is endless sand dunes, but the dry sandstorm and a sky with only intense sunlight. For many years, under the influence of nature and mainly people, the rate of desertification was increasing.
There are many primitive deserts that are forests or inhabited by humans, but now they have become a place where only the most thorny animals / plants can survive. This article is listed, introducing the 10 largest deserts in the world today.
10. Chihuahua Desert
The area of the desert is estimated to be approximately 282,000 square kilometers (175,000 square miles). The Chihuahua Desert lies along the Mexican-American border . Its area is even larger than the state of California (according to statistics of the University of New Mexico). The desert is so named because it covers most of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, in addition to the states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona of the United States. The average annual rainfall in this desert is less than 228 mm.
Like many deserts in the world, the Chihuahua desert is surrounded by the Sierre Madre Occidental mountain range in the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in the east, preventing steam from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico into the mainland.
Under the desert and New Mexico’s Guadalupe mountain range, there are more than 300 caves. In this area, Carlsbad Caverns National Park was built after sulfuric acid penetrated the limestone mountains.
9. The Great Basin Desert
The area of the desert reaches 490,000 square kilometers (about 190,000 square miles). Unlike most other deserts, the main feature here is that most of the rainfall falling here is in the form of snow. The desert’s reach covers most of Nevada , part of Utah and several other states. The annual average rainfall in the region is only about 150 to 300 mm.
This desert is formed on the little rainy side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Eastern California. The surrounding area is also heavily influenced by the desert. There are strong winds called Santa Ana that usually blow south of California after being formed in high pressure areas in the Great Basin desert.
In the desert region of the Great Basin, many strange rocks are formed. For example, some species were found in central Nevada in 2009, their shape is described as “dripping like honey”. This deformation is caused by changes in the Earth’s crust that are caused by high pressure and high temperatures below the Earth’s surface. Heavier material in the lithosphere as it warms will flow through the thinner layers, dragging the material behind.
8. The Syrian Desert
The area of this desert is about 518,000 square kilometers (about 200,000 square miles). This place is truly a land of death when described as desolate and arid. The Syrian Desert covers most of Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, where “marked ” by lava – an insurmountable barrier to humans until the last decade. We now have highways and oil pipelines built along the site. The average annual rainfall in this area falls to about 125mm.
Right from ancient times, people have arrived in the Syrian desert. Several modern discoveries have confirmed that. An archaeological site called “Syria’s Stonehenge stone circle ” was discovered in 2009. A 2012 report by Discovery revealed that the site contained many stone circles and tomb sites.
The Es Safa volcano near Damascus is the largest of the Arabian volcanoes, and the lava exit opened around 12,000 years ago during the Holocene Era. More recently, a boiling lava lake was found around this area in 1850.
7. The Great Victoria Desert
The area of the desert reaches 647,000 square kilometers (250,000 square miles). What a vast land. The Great Victoria Desert covers most of Australia , mainly in the form of parallel sand dunes and some salt lakes. The sand dunes are mainly red sand coming from the east of Australia, they turn white when moving south due to mixing with sand from the beaches.
The area has been described as a place of unpredictable variable rainfall . Following data from 1890 to 2005, the average rainfall here is only about 162 mm per year. Due to the harsh environment, deserts consist mostly of Aboriginal lands, nature reserves or bare land, without cities.
One of the region’s biggest ecological threats comes from camels. Their ancestors were imported from India, Afghanistan and Arab in the 19th century to serve the movement in the desert. A recent BBC report says that an estimated 750,000 wild camels are using a large source of water and destroying infrastructure. They are considered as a short-term effective means but have long-term consequences.
6. The Patagonia Desert
The Great Victoria Desert is already vast, but let’s visit the Patagonia Desert with a huge area of up to 630,000 square kilometers (260,000 square miles). This desert belongs to Argentina . The desert and semi-desert areas stretch from the Atlantic to the Andes, mainly the tree-free plains (according to the Encyclopedia Britannica).
Like the Death Valley in California, the Patagonia Desert is located on the little rainy slopes of the Andes . The heat in this place is no less than the death valley. The average annual rainfall here is only between 160 and 200 mm.
According to Susan Woodward, an emeritus professor of geography at the University of Radford Virginia, the harsh environment here is mainly due to the influence of the terrain. As compressed air masses move around mountains and deep-lying areas, they become hotter and their ability to hold water vapor increases. On the less rainy side of a mountain range, the water evaporates very quickly, thus creating a dry desert environment.
5. Kalahari Desert
Ranked fifth on the list is a desert with an area of up to 930,000 square kilometers (360,000 square miles). The Kalahari Desert covers a large area of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. According to a 1991 book on Kalahari’s environmental studies, the average rainfall in the desert is less than 500 mm a year. However, there are some places that receive only 200 mm of rain annually.
Kalahari is described as “nothing special”. It is covered with sand, which could have been formed between 2.6 million and 11,700 years ago, due to the strong wind and rain. The Kalahari Desert is also home to many human activities thousands of years ago.
In an excavated area – Wonderwerk cave in South Africa – archaeologists found evidence that fire had burned here about 1 million years ago. They also discovered artifacts on the hills of Tsodilo, Botswana, suggesting that this place had been sacrificed for some 70,000 years.
4. Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert is one of the most famous deserts. The area of this desert is about 1.3 million square kilometers (800,000 square miles). Gobi covers a large area of China and Mongolia. However, not all places on Gobi are dry. Some places in the desert also have weather patterns divided into two distinct rainy and dry seasons. The average annual rainfall ranges from 50 to 200 mm depending on the location. The eastern region has a lot of rain in the summer, the monsoon is also more active.
In 2011, zigzag- shaped zigzag patterns at Gobi appeared in photos taken by Google, creating a range of hypotheses, even related to aliens. But according to researcher Jonathon Hill at Arizona State University, these tracks are mainly to help Chinese spy satellites navigate the spacecraft.
Gobi Desert is the ideal place to unearth dinosaur fossils . A Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton was unearthed in the area and sold at auction for $ 1 million.
3. Arabian Desert
The area of the Arabian desert is 2.3 million square kilometers (about 900,000 square miles). The Arabian Desert covers Saudi Arabia, Oman and part of Iraq. Depending on the location, the dryness in the desert varies. At the center of the desert the temperature can reach 54 degrees Celsius. Areas near the edge of the desert or on the highlands are more humid, sometimes with dew and mist.
The average annual rainfall here is less than 100 mm, but depending on the location, it can range from 0 to 500 mm. Thanks to human irrigation, many parts of the desert have been greened. This is a praiseworthy signal in the fact that the earth is becoming more deserted.
However, there are issues that need to be considered. Circle planting has been popular in Saudi Arabia for the past three decades. Engineers dug into 20,000-year-old underground water for irrigation. If it continues at the current rate of water use, it is expected that the water circuit will be depleted within the next 50 years.
Sahara has an area of 8.6 million square kilometers, the figure is larger than the area of the eight deserts combined. In addition to being larger than other deserts, the rainfall here is much smaller. The annual rainfall here is lower than 25 mm, in the eastern desert, the annual rainfall can be reduced to only 5 mm. Water does not usually fall directly to rain in the Sahara but often creates fog. There is not much vegetation in the Sahara to retain heat after sunset, so the temperatures can become very cold in the evening. The sudden change in temperature between day and night creates mist.
The Sahara also has a high volcano called Emi Koussi located in Chad, southeast of the Tibesti Mountains. Located at 3,415 meters above sea level, volcanic lava flows are still “young”, about 2 million years old. It is normal to think that the Sahara is the largest desert in the world, but not really and we will discover it at the number 1 position.
Yes, the largest desert in the world is our Antarctica with an area of up to 14.2 million square kilometers (about 5.5 million square miles).
Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, months without sun exposure. Not typical of hot deserts, sandstorms, etc., it’s hard to say that a cold place like Antarctica is considered a desert. But because the rainfall is so low, it is considered a desert , the average annual rainfall of Antarctica is only 50 mm and exists mainly in the form of snow. The reason why there is very little snow but 99% of the surface of Antarctica is covered by glaciers is because the average temperature in Antarctica is minus 48 degrees Celsius. And it slows the evaporation process.
Due to climate change and global warming, many parts of Antarctica are showing signs of warming. The temperature in the past 50 years in Antarctica has increased by 2.5 times – 5 times that of the rest of the earth. If the sea warms up, the Antarctic ice will melt from below – places exposed to seawater.