Desert Facts

Desert Facts
A desert is a landscape where little rain falls which makes it difficult for animals and plants to survive. A desert can be formed by weather patterns and usually receive less than 16 inches of rain or snow in an entire year. Deserts can be hot or cold. Approximately 33% of the surface of the earth is classified as desert. This is increasing by roughly 46,000 square miles per year due to forest clearing and climate change. The largest hot desert is the Sahara Desert and the largest cold desert is the Antarctic Desert.
Interesting Desert Facts:
The largest desert in the world covers 14,200,000 square kilometers surrounding the North Pole. It is the Antarctic Desert.
The Arctic Desert is the second largest desert in the world and covers an area of 13,900,000 square kilometers.
The Sahara Desert is the third largest desert in the world and covers an area of 9,100,000 square kilometers. It also covers areas in 12 countries in North Africa.
The smallest desert in the world is the Carcross Desert in Canada's Yukon, covering 1 square mile.
The world's driest desert is Atacama Desert located in Chile where there have been no records of rainfall since people began keeping records.
The coldest desert is the Antarctic Desert where a temperature of -94.7 degrees Celsius was recorded in 2010. The average is -49 degrees Celsius.
Despite only receiving 20mm of rain per year the Antarctic contains approximately 90% of the world's fresh water.
Life in deserts usually includes mammals, reptiles, plants, and insects.
In 1923 the very first dinosaur eggs that were to be discovered were found in the Gobi Desert, which is the fifth largest desert. The Gobi Desert is located in Southern Mongolia and north-western China.
Residents of the Atacama Desert include about 1 million people that tap water from underground streams for drinking, cooking, and raising livestock, as well as growing crops.
There are sand dunes as high as 300 meters in the Namib Desert.
The youngest desert in the world is the Aralkum Desert in Uzbekistan, which is less than 50 years old and 45,000 square km's in size. It formed because of manmade disturbances to the region. It is the world's most toxic desert due to run-off from five countries in Asia and Afghanistan.
The Sahara Desert is believed to be shrinking instead of growing in size.
The killer bee is the most dangerous insect found in the desert as it is found in swarms up to 900,000 in size and will sting humans to death if irritated.
The ostrich is the largest bird found in Arabia, Australia, and African deserts.
The Arctic Desert contains roughly 120 animal species and 700 plant species. Some animals include the Arctic fox, wolves, polar bears, seals, walruses, and whales.
Only 20% of the land covered by desert in the world is covered in sand. Some are closely packed smooth stones, bedrock, and can include high rocky plateaus, rivers, and even oases.
Deserts can be valuable for sources of solar energy collection.

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