Most people think that desert means which has a sandy landscape. But that is not the case. The geographical definition of a desert is that the area which receives very little precipitation qualifies to be called a desert. Before we explore the six largest deserts in the world let’s have a quick look at the categorization of deserts :
- Polar deserts
- Subtropical deserts
- Cold winter deserts and
- Cool coastal deserts
The amazing fact about deserts is that they cover one-third of the Earth’s land surface. There are some deserts on our planet where no rain has ever been recorded. Let’s have a look through the top 6 largest deserts in the world and know some stunning facts about them.
Great Victoria Desert – 220,000 Square Miles
The largest desert in Australia, the Great Victoria Desert consists of many small sandhills, grassland plains, and salt lakes. The desert gets only about 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) of rain each year. The desert experiences 15 -20 thunderstorms per year.
Kalahari Desert – 360,000 square miles
This semi-arid desert covers the parts of Botswana, Namibia, and some parts of South Africa. The Kalahari Desert came into existence approximately sixty million years ago along with the formation of the African continent. The desert has large areas that are covered with red sand without permanent surface water drainage.
Gobi Desert- 500,00 square miles
Located in Asia Gobi desert covers some parts of China and Mongolia. The Gobi desert was a part of the great Mongol empire and several historical cities were located on the Silk Road. Most of the surface if Gobi desert is bare rock.
Arabian Desert – 900,00 square miles
From Yemen to the Persian Gulf and from Oman to Jordan and Iraq the wilderness of the Arabian Desert occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula. Rub’al-Khali which is one of the largest continuous bodies of the sand in the world is located at the center of Arabian Desert.
Sahara Desert – 3,500,000 square miles
Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world and considerably larger than Brazil or the continent of Australia. The constantly high position of the sun, the extremely low relative humidity, the lack of vegetation and rainfall make the Great Desert the hottest continuously large area worldwide and certainly the hottest place on Earth during summertime in some spots.
Antarctica – 5,500,000 square miles
About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness. Antarctica is the coldest region on the planet earth and the temperature sometimes drops to -89 degrees Celsius in winter. Antarctica receives precipitation of less than 200mm.
So, out of these six largest deserts in the world, which one do you think would be on your next to-do list?