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The World's Most Awesome Deserts
1. Namib Desert
Namib Desert
The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa. The Namib's northernmost portion, which extends 450 kilometres from the Angola-Namibia border, is known as Moçâmedes Desert, while its southern portion approaches the neighboring Kalahari Desert. Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib may be the oldest desert in the world. Temperatures along the coast are stable and generally range between 9–20 °C annually, while temperatures further inland are variable—summer daytime temperatures can exceed 45 °C while nights can be freezing. The Namib desert is an important location for the mining of tungsten, salt and diamonds. One of the most well-known endemic plants of the Namib is the bizarre Welwitschia mirabilis; a shrub-like plant, it grows two long strap-shaped leaves continuously throughout its lifetime. Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia. The Sossusvlei is one of the major visitor attractions of Namibia.
2. Sahara Desert
Sahara Desert
The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, and the world's third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its surface area of 9,400,000 square kilometres. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north, to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape gradually transitions to a coastal plain. The Sahara can be divided into several regions, including the western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Air Mountains, the Tenere desert, and the Libyan Desert. It is the world's largest low-latitude hot desert.
3. Thar Desert
Thar Desert
The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large, arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world's 17th largest desert, and the world's 9th largest subtropical desert. About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining part in Pakistan. In India, it covers about 320,000 km2, of which 60% is in Rajasthan and extends into Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana. The Thar is one of most heavily populated desert areas in the world with the main occupations of its inhabitants agriculture and animal husbandry. Desert safaris on camels have become increasingly popular around Jaisalmer. Domestic and international tourists frequent the desert seeking adventure on camels for anything from a day to several days. People from various parts of the world come to see the Pushkar Fair and oases.
4. Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert
The Gobi is a large desert region in Asia. It covers parts of northern and northwestern China, and of southern Mongolia. The Gobi is most notable in history as part of the great Mongol Empire, and as the location of several important cities along the Silk Road. The Gobi is a rain shadow desert formed by the Himalaya range blocking rain-carrying clouds from the Indian Ocean from reaching the Gobi territory. It is the fifth-largest desert in the world and Asia's largest. Much of the Gobi is not sandy but has exposed bare rock. The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost and occasionally snow occurring on its dunes. It is the source of many important fossil finds, including the first dinosaur eggs.
5. Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a 1,000-kilometre strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world. Most of the desert is composed of stony terrain, salt lakes, sand, and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes. The desert has rich deposits of copper and other minerals and the world's largest natural supply of sodium nitrate which was mined on a large scale until the early 1940s. The Atacama Desert is popular with all-terrain sports enthusiasts. Most people who go to tour the sites in the desert stay in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert is in the top three tourist locations in Chile.
6. Tabernas Desert, Spain
Tabernas Desert
The Tabernas Desert is one of Spain's semi-deserts, located within Spain's southeastern province of Almería. The desert is located in the interior, about 30 kilometers north of the provincial capital, Almería, in the Tabernas municipality. Due to its altitude it has slightly higher annual rainfall and lower annual average temperature than Almeria's coastal desert. The desert is well endowed with vegetation for a desert. Plants such as the sea lavender, which are teetering on the verge of extinction, manage to flourish in the semi-arid environment of the desert. In winter, the landscape of the desert turns white when the toadflax linaria flowers.
7. Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert is a rain-shadow, mostly high desert area, that occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona in the United States. It is the driest of the North American deserts. The Mojave Desert is one of the most popular tourism spots in North America, primarily because of the gambling destination of Las Vegas. It is also known for its scenic beauty, with three national parks – Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve.
8. Rub' al Khali
Rub' al Khali
The Rub' al Khali is the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula. The desert covers some 650,000 square kilometres including parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. It is part of the larger Arabian Desert. Sheyba, at the northeastern edge of the Rub' al Khali, is a major light crude oil-producing site in Saudi Arabia.
9. Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in North America, with an area of 260,000 square kilometers. The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. The desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the Saguaro and Organ Pipe cactus.
10. Great Victoria Desert
Great Victoria Desert
The Great Victoria Desert, an interim Australian bioregion, is a sparsely populated desert area in Western Australia and South Australia. The Great Victoria is the largest desert in Australia and consists of many small sandhills, grassland plains, areas with a closely packed surface of pebbles and salt lakes. It is over 700 kilometres wide (from west to east) and covers an area of 348,750 square kilometres from the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia to the Gawler Ranges in South Australia.