6 Most Famous Deserts In The World

famous deserts in the world

These are some of the most fascinating, yet scary and mystifying places on the planet. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous deserts in the world!

Related: Check out the most famous lakes and famous mountains in the world as well!

6 most famous deserts

1. Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert is one of the famous deserts in Asia and covers large parts of Northern and Northeastern China and of Southern Mongolia. It’s a rain shadow desert which means it was formed because the rain coming from the Indian Ocean is blocked by the Tibetan Plateau, causing extremely dry conditions.

The desert has a length of about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) and a width of about 500 miles (800 kilometers). This huge desert covers an area of about 500,000 square miles (1,295,000 square kilometers). It’s also a cold desert with occasional frost and snow covering its dunes, mainly because it’s located fairly north and at a height of between 2,990 and 4,990 feet (910–1,520 meters).

famous deserts gobi desert dunes
Gobi Desert dunes / Zoharby / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

2. Namib Desert

The Namib Desert runs for more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) along the western coast of southern Africa. This coastal desert is located in the countries of Namibia, Angola, and South Africa and is almost completely uninhabited by humans.

With a width of about 120 miles (200 kilometers), the desert covers an area of about 31,000 square miles (81,000 square kilometers). The conditions in the desert can be extremely harsh, with day temperatures in the summer reaching 113 °F (45 °C) and nights freezing. Remarkably, it’s home to the most types of endemic animal species of any desert in the world.

Namib desert

3. Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is located in North America and covers large parts of the southwestern part of the United States and the northwestern part of Mexico. The desert is the hottest desert in Mexico and is world-famous for its unique endemic plants, most particularly the saguaro and organ pipe cactus.

The desert covers an area of about 100,000 square miles (260,000 square kilometers) and covers large areas of Arizona and California in the United States, and Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur in Mexico. What’s remarkable is that there are several large cities located in this desert, including Phoenix in Arizona which has a population of nearly 5 million people in its metropolitan area!

Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert / Source

4. Black Rock Desert

The Black Rock Desert is located within the “Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area” and is actually a silt playa located 100 miles (160 km) north of Reno, Nevada. It’s part of the Great Basin in Nevada and is a dry remnant of an ancient lake called Lake Lahontan.

The desert covers an area of about 300,000 acres (120,000 hectares) and is enclosed by two arms of the Black Rock Mountain Range. The area is famous because of it’s numerous volcanic and geothermal features such as geysers.

Black Rock Desert
Black Rock Desert / Source

5. Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is located in Africa and covers nearly the entire northern part of the continent. It runs from the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb to the Red Sea in the east. It’s the largest hot desert in the world and the third-largest desert by area after Antarctica and the Arctic.

It has a total length of about 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers), a total width of 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers), and covers an area of over 3.6 million square miles (9.2 million square kilometers). What makes the Sahara so remarkable is that it isn’t always a desert and changes from desert to savanna grassland in periods of 20,000 years.

6. Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert is located in the southwestern part of the United States and covers areas of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It has a total size of 47,877 square miles (124,000 square kilometers) which makes it the smallest desert in North America. It’s one of the driest places in the world as most parts of the desert receive less than 2 inches (51 millimeters) of rain a year.

The desert is home to various famous spots including Death Valley, the hottest place in the United States which holds the world record of the hottest temperature ever recorded with 134 °F (57 °C). It’s also home to Las Vegas, one of the most famous entertainment centers in the world, as well as several abandoned towns referred to as “Ghost Towns” which have become tourist attractions. It’s also home to an endemic plant referred to as the “Joshua Tree” meaning it only grows in the Mojave Desert and clearly marks its boundaries!

Mojave desert death valley
Road to Death Valley in the Mojave Desert / Wiki Commons

This concludes our list of the most famous deserts in the world. As as you can see, these are some of the most amazing and fascinating places on earth!

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