Sahara Desert Essay

1093 Words Mar 7th, 2002 5 Pages
Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is the world's largest desert area. The word Sahara comes from the Arabic word sahra', meaning desert. It extends from the Africa's Atlantic Ocean side to the Red Sea and consists of the countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan. It is about 5,200 miles long. Overall, the Sahara Desert covers 3,500,000 square miles. The geography of the desert is varied. In the west, the Sahara is rocky with varied elevation. It does contain underground rivers, which sometime penetrate the surface, resulting in oases. The central region of the Sahara has more elevation than the other areas, with peaks such as Emi Koussi and Tahat. Even though the area lacks rainfall,
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On average, it only has 8 inches of rainfall per year. The Sahara's climate consists of basically two sub-climates, a dry subtropical climate in the north and a dry tropical climate in the south. The dry tropical climate is generally characterized by mild, dry winters, a hot dry season just before the rainy season, and an annual temperature cycle. The dry subtropical climate, however, is characterized by annually high temperature ranges, cold winters, hot summers and two rainy seasons. There is a narrow strip in the western portion of the Sahara, along the coast, which generally has cool temperatures compared to the rest of the Sahara because of the influence of the cold ocean currents. The land is almost entirely without rainfall or surface water but possesses a number of underground rivers that flow from the Atlas and other mountains. Occasionally the waters of these rivers find their way to the surface; in these naturally irrigated oases, plants grow freely. The soil of this region of the Sahara is fertile and, where irrigation is possible, produces excellent crops.
The Libyan Desert is considered the most arid part of the Sahara. Moisture is almost totally absent and few oases exist. The Libyan Desert is virtually devoid of any form of animal or vegetable life. Sandy wastes and large dunes of sand that range to 400 feet or more in height characterize the land. The valley of the Nile River and the mountainous area of the

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