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Deserts!! When we come across this word, a very dry biome, filled with sand comes to our mind. But, all deserts are not filled with sand. This article discusses the Largest deserts in the world. Static GK, from the geography part, is crucial for most of the competitive exams viz, Kerala PSC, SSC, Bank Exams, UPSC.
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Deserts are the barren area of the landscape, where little precipitation occurs(less than 25cm) rainfall a year. Approximately one-third of the earth’s land surface is covered by desert- includes Antartica, Sahara desert, etc. Deserts are formed by weathering processes as large variations in temperature between day and night put strains on the rocks which consequently break in pieces.
Rains occur in deserts, but not often. One place in the Atacama Desert had no rain for 401 years!! Sudden rain results in flash floods. Streams that enter a desert usually suffer major water losses before they exit. Some of the water is lost to evaporation. Some are lost to transpiration (taken up by plants and then released to the atmosphere from the plants). And, some is lost to infiltration. A sandstorm arises when the wind blows loose sand and dust from a dry surface. Clouds of sand or dust are often so dense that they obscure the sun. A sandstorm can move whole sand dunes. Sandstorms are common in large, dusty deserts.
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Flora and Fauna in Desert
Plants and animals need special adaptations to survive the harsh environment. They need to store water to satisfy their needs. Plants tend to be tough and wiry with small or no leaves, water-resistant cuticles and often spines to deter herbivory. Animals need to keep cool and find enough food and water to survive. Many are nocturnal and stay in the shade or underground during the heat of the day. They tend to be efficient at conserving water, extracting most of their needs from their food and concentrating urine. Some animals remain in a state of dormancy for long periods, ready to become active again during the rare rainfall.
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Classification of Deserts
Deserts have been defined and classified in a number of ways, generally combining total precipitation, number of days on which this falls, temperature, and humidity.
The world’s deserts are divided into four categories.
- Sub-tropical deserts- These are the hottest, with parched terrain and rapid evaporation
- Cool coastal deserts- They are located within the same latitudes as subtropical deserts, the average temperature is much cooler because of frigid offshore ocean currents.
- Cold winter deserts- They marked by stark temperature differences from season to season, ranging from 100° F (38° C) in the summer to 10° F (–12° C) in the winter.
- Polar deserts- These regions are considered deserts because nearly all moisture is locked in the form of ice.
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Major Deserts in the World
|SI.NO||Desert||Type of desert||Location||Area||Topography|
|1.||Antartic||Polar||Antartica||5.5 million mi²||Ice, snow, bedrock|
|2.||Artic||Polar||U.S., Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia||5.4 million mi²||Snow, glaciers, tundra|
|3.||Sahara||Sub-tropical||Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia||3.5 million mi²||70% gravel plains, sand, and dunes.|
|4.||Arabian||Sub-tropical||Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen||1 million mi²||Gravel plains, rocky highlands; one-fourth is the Rub al-Khali (“Empty Quarter”), the world’s largest expanse of unbroken sand|
|5.||Gopi||Cold Winter||China, Mongolia||500,000 mi²||Stony, sandy soil, steppes (dry grasslands)|
|6.||Pantagonian||Cold Winter||Argentina||260,000 mi²||Gravel plains, plateaus, basalt sheets|
|7.||Great Victorian||Subtropical||Australia (the southernmost portion of the Western Desert)||250,000 mi²||Sandhills, gravel, grass. These three regions of the desert are collectively referred to as the Great Western Desert—otherwise known as “the Outback.” Contains Ayers Rock, or Uluru, one of the world’s largest monoliths|
|8.||Kalahari||Subtropical||Botswana, South Africa, Namibia||220,000 mi²||Sand sheets, longitudinal dunes|
|9.||Great Basin||Cold Winter||U.S.: Nevada, Oregon, Utah||190,000 mi²||Mountain ridges, valleys, 1% sand dunes|
|10.||Syrian||Subtropical||Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia||190,000 mi²||Salt, gravel, rock|
|11.||Thar||Subtropical||India, Pakistan||75,000 mi²||Rocky sand and sand dunes|
|12.||Atacama||Cool Coastal||Chile||54,000 mi²||Salt basins, sand, lava; world’s driest desert|
These are the largest deserts in order(1-10). These portions are included in World geography, essential for KPSC/UPSC/SSC/RRB. Entri is the best platform for all these competitive exams coachings. You can rely on Entri App for notes, mock tests on these topics. Wishing all aspirants good luck!
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