Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top 6 most famous deserts in the world

1. Namib Desert. Namibia. Oldest deserts in the world


The desert occupies an area of around 80 900 km² (31 200 square miles), stretching about 1000 miles (1,600 km) along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia. Its east-west width varies from 30 to 100 miles (50-160 km). The Namib Desert also reaches into southwest Angola. It is one of the 500 distinct physiographic provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division.

Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for at least 55 million years, it is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. The Namib's aridity is caused by the descent of dry air of the Hadley Cell, cooled by the cold Benguela current along the coast. It has less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) of rain annually and is almost completely barren.

A number of unusual species of plants and animals are found only in this desert. One of these is Welwitschia mirabilis, one of the most unusual species. Welwitschia is a shrub-like plant, but grows just two long strap-shaped leaves continuously throughout its lifetime. These leaves may be several meters long, gnarled and twisted from the desert winds. The taproot of the plant develops into a flat, concave disc in age. Welwitschia is notable for its survival in the extremely arid conditions in the Namib, sometimes deriving moisture from the coastal sea fogs.

Although the desert is largely unpopulated and inaccessible, there are year-round settlements at Sesriem, close to the famous Sossusvlei and a huge group of sand dunes, which at more than 300 meters high are among the tallest sand dunes in the world. The complexity and regularity of dune patterns in its dune sea have attracted the attention of geologists for decades. They still remain poorly understood.


2. Desert Uyuni. Bolivia. Most salt desert in the world
James, Marie, and I teamed up with Damian and Nevina, a couple from England, and another American, Jordan, to round out our group of 6 needed to fill a Toyota Landcruiser and take our tour of the Salar. And it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! The first day lead us to a very poor village that subsists soley by mining salt. And at $1 per 110 lb. bag, it's a lot of work for almost nothing. Next we visited the Salt Hotel, a real hotel in the middle of nowhere constucted entirely of salt blocks. From there, we had lunch on a very unusual desert island and to end the day, we took the most unusual photos our creative minds could muster.

Day two took us through more desert and fantastic scenery and we finsished day three by visiting geysers and thermal springs before everyone in my group got dropped off and took a bus to Chile and I returned alone with the guide to Uyuni. I think the pictures convey this adventure quite clearly so take some time and check them out... there a lot of em! The worst part of this excursion was tolerating the cold at night and in the morning. The desert sits at 12,000 feet (3600m) and some parts of the tour took us to nearly 15,500 feet (4700m). Temperatures at night fell to -5 degrees F (-20 C). To combat the cold on night 2, we filled empty water bottles with hot water and slept with those... that seemed to do the trick. But keeping feet warm in the truck and exploring various sights was a challenge.

Now, I am off to La Paz, the highest capital city in the world... again at about 12,000 feet. Thanks James, Marie, Jordan, Damian & Nevina for the great company. Good luck with the rest of your travels.



3. Youngest desert in the world
Aralkum is the name given to the new desert that has appeared on the seabed once occupied by the Aral Sea. It lies to the south and east of what remains of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Although the level of the Aral Sea has fluctuated over its existence, the most recent level drop was caused by the former Soviet Union building massive irrigation projects in the region. The consequent severely reduced inflow subsequently caused the water level in the Aral Sea to drop. Although the North Aral Sea is presently rising, the South Aral Sea is still dropping, thus expanding the size of the desert. The sands of the Aralkum are made up of a salt-marsh consisting of finely-dispersed sea depositions and remnants of mineral deposits, washed away from irrigated fields. The dusts which originate from it contain pollutants. The desert's location on a powerful east-west airstream has resulted in pesticides in the dust being found in the blood of penguins in Antarctica. Aral dust has also been found in the glaciers of Greenland, the forests of Norway, and the fields of Russia.



4. Desert Kakros. Canada. Smallest desert in the world
Smallest desert in the world in just 2.6 square kilometers and, strictly speaking, this is not a desert. Despite the fact that the climate is much drier than in the surrounding countryside, the rains here all the same happen. In the late 90-ies of the last century, local authorities made an attempt to make the desert sanctuary, but faced strong opposition of local residents who have long since adapted the place as a site for picnics, off of the roads and riding a board with the dune.



5. Sahara. North Africa. The largest desert in the world
The size of the Sahara, which occupies most of North Africa, comparable to the European continent, or U.S. territory. It covers an area of 9 million square kilometers and covers 11 African countries. Here in 1922 was the highest recorded temperature – 57.8 degrees Celsius. Every year in the Sahara there is more than 160 mirages. For travelers, even composed a special card through which you can find out exactly where most likely you can see the mirages of the well, palm groves of the oases and mountain ranges.



6. Atacama Desert. Chile. Driest desert in the world
Prior to the Atacama desert, sandwiched between the Andes and the Cordillera, does not get hardly any rain cloud. Precipitation is not seen for several years, and some meteorological stations have never recorded a drop of rain for all of its existence. Drought, such that the local mountain peaks, reaching a height of no less than 6500 meters, are deprived of snowpacks.


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