Deserts: some of the most barren places on Earth but, interestingly enough, they are also some of the most diverse places too. Deserts cover about ⅓ of Earth’s surface and are known to be very dry, receiving little to no precipitation annually. Considering they cover a third of our planet it’s surprising how little most of us know about deserts. Here are some fun facts to get you interested!
- The largest desert in the world is Antarctica. (Surprising, right!?) It’s considered a desert because it has little very little annual snowfall and contains no trees or bushes. So that means the hottest and coldest places on Earth are deserts. Pretty cool!
- They are extremely diverse. Plants and animals that live in deserts have evolved well over the centuries to adapt to the harsh conditions. They have created clever ways to survive with the very limited water supply. So though they may seem “deserted” at first glance but the only ecosystem that is more diverse than the desert is the rainforest.
- The lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America is aptly named Death Valley, located in the Mojave Desert. It is also the location of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth–134 degrees fahrenheit! Sounds like a place you really don’t want to get lost in.
- They’re full of history. The first dinosaur eggs were found in the Gobi Desert which is located in China.
- The Sahara Desert is home to the toughest marathon in the world called Marathon Des Sables, which actually started this week. It is a gruelling race for runners to travel the equivalent of 5½ marathons through the desert with nothing but a tent and whatever they can carry on their back. It takes about a week to complete. The marathon raises funds to help families improve their quality of life through education.
Here is a link to some of the world’s most spectacular deserts from Africa to South America and beyond. The world is a fascinating, scary, beautiful place!
If you would prefer to get the desert experience from the comfort of your home, I recommend you watch the movie Tracks. It details the true story of a woman who traveled across the Australian desert by herself, along with her dog and three camels. It is an amazing and inspirational story.