TRAVEL: Interesting Facts About Sahara Desert

TRAVEL: Interesting Facts About Sahara Desert

When most people imagine an archetypal desert landscape—with its relentless sun, rippling sand and hidden oases—they often picture the Sahara.

 What is the Desert? A desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life.

Image result for sahara desert facts Image SlideShare

Deserts are found in all continents of our world. About 1/3rd of the total land area of our earth consists of deserts

Related image Image SlideShare

 

THE SAHARA DESERT

Sahara Desert is often cited as the largest desert in the world in which actually it is the third largest. However,it is the largest hot desert. By definition, a desert is an area which receives less than 10 inches of precipitation per year. “Sahara,” in Arabic, means “The Great Desert”. Therefore, any reference to the “Sahara Desert” is a bit redundant.  According this theory the world’s largest desert is actually the continent of Antarctica stretches over 5,339,573 square miles and the second largest desert is the Artic.  Both Antartica and the Arctic are cold deserts.

This is the image many people have of the Sahara: a vast sea of sand dunes. The terrain is actually quite varied. Image Traveler Corner

 

At 3.6 million square miles (9.4 million square kilometers), the Sahara,” engulfs most of North Africa.The Sahara Desert spans twelve countries in northern Africa and stretches from the Red Sea to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean.  Its terrain ranges from mountains and rocky areas to gravel plains, salt flats, and huge areas of dunes.  This desert, crosses many different national boundaries and have somewhat distinct characteristics in each nation because of the slight changes of climate and precipitation. The desert covers large sections of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.

sahara desert mapSahara Desert Map Source Beautiful World

 

BRIEF HISTORY

The Sahara is not always been a desert. People lived on the edge of the desert thousands of years ago. After the last ice age, the landscape was left as dry and barren as of today. The Sahara was then a much wetter place than it is today. About 10,500 years ago, a sudden onset of monsoon rains transformed the inhabitable desert into habitable Savannah. As radiocarbon dated human and animal remains have been proven scientists,the humans and animals living in the Nile River Valley were able to expand out into the Savannah.  Over the next several hundred years, the rain  continued, and human settlemens grew and even introduced domesticated livestock such as goats and sheeps. Over 30,000 petroglyphs of river animals such as crocodiles survive, with half found in the Tassili n’Ajjer in southeast Algeria. Fossils of dinosaurs, including AfrovenatorJobaria and Ouranosaurus, have also been found here. The modern Sahara, though, is not lush in vegetation, except in the Nile Valley, at a few oases, and in the northern highlands, where Mediterranean plants such as the olive tree are found to grow. It was long believed that the region had been this way since about 1600 BCE, after shifts in the Earth’s axis increased temperatures and decreased precipitation, which led to the abrupt desertification of North Africa about 5,400 years ago. However, this theory has recently been called into dispute, when samples taken from several 7 million year old sand deposits led scientists to reconsider the timeline for desertification. The human population had returned to the Nile River Valley after the rain began to retreat.

 

Image result for sahara desert facts Image SlideShare

 

Some of the facts about this massive and arid expanse can be interesting, or downright confounding!

Here are some interesting facts about the Sahara Desert:

CONSERVATION INSTITUTE SAHARA DESERT FACTS: SAHARA CONSISTS OF NOT EVEN HALF SAND

Image Flex Mag

Thoughts of the Sahara invariably conjure up images of endless giant sand dunes. And yes, there certainly are dunes; in the south of Libya, some tower to over 400 feet high. One could stack the Statue of Liberty on top of itself, and hide both versions behind one of those towering dunes!

However, in many places, the sand comprises only a thin layer atop a gravel substrata. In other spots the shifting sands have in fact laid bare the gravel base. It is estimated that, overall, the Sahara is just 30 percent sand and 70 percent gravel.

.

Image result for sahara desert facts Image FACTSlides

Most of the regions have very thin layers of sand covering gravel ground because it is mainly carried away by the whirl winds which are mostly seen there. According to expert, the desert consists of only 30% sand while 70% of Sahara is gravel.

 

SAHARA DESERT IS AS LARGE AS CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES

Sahara satellite hires.jpgA satellite image of the Sahara by NASA World Wind. (Wikepedia)

There are many interesting Sahara desert fact and this fact is about the total area and population in Sahara. Very few call it home. The area of Sahara is larger than that of the continental US or China. There are about 300 million people living in America at present. Sahara passes through 9 countries and it is the house of only 2 million people. That makes its population almost equal to 1/150th of the total US population. And it is only a little fragment of China’s total population.

 

SAHARA DESERT FACTS: A LARGE PART OF SAHARA DESERT CONSISTS OF OASES

Image Daily Geek Show

There are still some parts in Sahara that are still full of vegetation. The underground rivers from the Atlas Mountain help to create several oases across the desert. Almost 2% of the desert is still a fertile and green land and total area of oases here is about 80,000 square miles. Thanks to modern systems of irrigation a previously large but barren land has been transformed into a fertile farm land in Egypt near river Nile.

“Our Sahara was shaped by Ksar Ghilane, an oasis roughly 200 kilometers south of Douz, a tourist town that is the primary launching point for camel and 4WD Sahara treks (No camel trek for us – too dangerous in the summer). Ksar Ghilane is the largest oasis in the Sahara, and it is shaped around “the source,” a small, muddy natural spring surrounded by palm trees and a few Berber campgrounds. Rappy had fun,” Chermeo World Tour

 

SAHARA DESERT FACTS: THE TOUGHEST FOOT RACE IN THE PLANET

The Sahara Marathon is a 250 kilometer race, with about 1500 participants, from 16 to 79 years old, and from all over the world, participating as individuals and teams. Source Morocco World News

One of the toughest foot races in the world is held in Sahara every year in April. This race is called The Marathon des Sables (MDS) and participants have to cover a distance over sand dunes and rocky plateaus of 150 miles of Sahara desert in southern Morocco. The participation fee is $4,500 and the interested runners have wait sometimes years before getting a chance to run in this race. The race is completed in 6 stages in the span of 7 days. All the contestants have to carry the supplies on their backs and keep on moving to survive and save their lives. The mythological Forrest Gump in the movie of the same name ran and ran until one day he just stopped, but at the MDS in the Sahara, these intrepid contestants don’t really have that option — if they want to live, that is.

 

SAHARA DESERT FACTS: SAHARA USED TO BE AN AMAZING FARM

 sahfcts-02

Image Flex Mag

Sahara was not always like this barren land that is full of sand. The Sahara was not always this big, poorly populated sandbox.  Once it was the most fertile land of its time. Not more than 8000 years ago it was the land of green farms and trees where grains and millet were grown. At different parts of Sahara some prehistoric drawings suggest that Sahara was a rich land full of green crops and trees.

Parts of the Sahara are rich and fertile, even today.Underground rivers that flow out of the Atlas Mountains to the west bubble to the surface in places, and lush oases occasionally result. In fact, there’s about 80,000 sq mi of oases across the Sahara. That is, over two percent of the Sahara is covered by oases. Another section is fertile thanks to irrigation.

 

FLEX MAG INTERESTING SAHARA DESERT FACTS: HIGHEST AND LOWEST TEMPERATURES

Image HubPages

In these interesting Sahara desert facts; this fact is about the highest and lowest temperatures in Sahara desert.  No doubt at day time, temperature in Sahara can be among the hottest temperatures in the world. The all-time hottest temperature ever recorded here is 136 0F (58 0C) in Azizia,Libya, in 1922. The average annual temperature in the Sahara is 86 0F  (30 0C ) . Because the air contains very little humidity to hold the heat in the lack of moisture in its atmosphere also makes it sometimes very cold in the night. Sometimes, temperature can even drop to -6 0C (22 0F) at night.  From December to February the temperature can drop below than the freezing point at night time. In terms of rainfall, about half of the Sahara recieves less than 0.79 inches (2cm) of rain a year, and the other half receives around 3.9 inches (9.9cm)

The nights at the Sahara is cooler and sand storms are common. Source Traveler Corner

People react to extreme environments by changing from one environment to another. For example people on earth have 21% oxygen. On mars there is only 0.13% oxygen. This means that on earth you would breath in more oxygen than co2. On mars you would breathe in more co2 than oxygen. too much co2 would suffocate us.

 

ANSWERS AFRICA SAHARA DESERT FACTS: SAHARA DESERT IS AMONG THE WORLD’S MOST EXPANSIVE DESERTS

FBBY1H (1).jpg

Image Smithsonian.com

Sahara Desert is among the world’s most expansive deserts and located in Northern Africa. Between Mediterranean to the North and the Red Sea to the East, a huge chun of the area has been swallowed by the Sahara  Desert

Desertification Vocabulary:

Desertification occurs when drylands are persistently being degraded. 10 – 20% of drylands are degraded and facing desertification. Desertification could be one of today’s biggest environmental challenges. The main cause is the removal of vegetation (often for wood).Incorrect irrigation can cause salinization. Accidental burning.Policies that allow and/or encourage land clearing.Drought. Climate shifts.Growing population poverty.

How fast does desertification spread? The Sahara desert is expanding about 30 miles each year.

 

LIVE SCIENCE SAHARA DESERT INTERESTING FACTS: IT HAS A HISTORY OF SNOWING

For the first time in 37 yearsImage The Economic Times

Despite it being mostly a barren wasteland, Sahara desert is capable of having a white Christmas, once in a blue moon. Despite producing record-breaking heat temperatures, the desert can be very cold – especially during night – between December and February.

LiveScience notes that snow landing on the sand dunes is incredibly rare, adding it is a more common occurrence on Saharan mountain ranges.

“On February 18, 1979, low altitude areas of the Sahara desert recorded their first snowfall in living memory,” the site reports.

The white of snow covering the grainy sand was a sight to behold. The snow happened for 30 minutes.

 

THOUGHT CO SAHARA DESERT OVERVIEW : PEOPLE OF SAHARA DESERT

Image Traveler Corner 

Sahara desert is often referred to as an extremely dangerous area because of its extremely high temperature and dry conditions making it unfit for most life forms.

In spite of the dry and dangerous conditions, people do inhabit the Sahara desert and have been living there since before 6000 BCE. Since then, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Europeans have been among the peoples in the area.

Image result for NOMADS houses in sahara pic Image SlidePlayer

Today the Sahara’s population is around 4 million.  The majority are Nomads living in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania and Western Sahara.  Because of this, there are many different nationalities and languages in the region but Arabic is most widely spoken.  For those who do live in cities or villages on fertile oases, crops and the mining of minerals like iron ore (in Algeria and Mauritania) and copper (in Mauritania) are important industries that have allowed population centers to grow.

 

TRAVELER CORNER SAHARA DESERT: CAMELS ARE USED AS MEDIUM OF TRANSPORTATION

Image Green Prophet

Camels are used as medium of transportation in Sahara desert, you may take a camel tour and reach to the areas where is not possible on vehicles. The Nile and Niger rivers are major tourist attractions among several other rivers.

 

WIKIPEDIA SIRROCO : SIRROCO WIND ORIGINATES IN THE SAHARA

Image  credit HOOLAWHOOP 

Sirroco is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and can reach hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe, especially during the summer season.

It arises from a warm, dry, tropical air mass that is pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving eastward across the Mediterranean Sea, with the wind originating in the Arabian or Sahara deserts.The hotter, drier continental air mixes with the cooler, wetter air of the maritime cyclone, and the counter-clockwise circulation of the low propels the mixed air across the southern coasts of Europe.

The effects of Sirroco:

The Sirocco causes dusty dry conditions along the northern coast of Africa, storms in the Mediterranean Sea, and cool wet weather in Europe. The Sirocco’s duration may be as short as half a day or may last several days. While passing over the Mediterranean Sea, the Sirocco picks up moisture: this results in rainfall in the southern part of Italy, known locally as “Blood rain”, due to the red sand mixed with the falling rain. Many people attribute health problems to the Sirocco, either because of the heat and dust along the African coastal regions, or because of the cool dampness in Europe. The dust within the Sirocco winds can cause abrasion in mechanical devices and penetrate buildings.

Sirocco winds with speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour ( 62 miles) are most common during autumn and spring. They reach a peak in March and in November when it is very hot, with a maximum speed of about 100 km/h (55 knots).

When combined with a rising tide, the Sirocco can cause the Acqua Alta phenomenon in the Venetian Lagoon.

“In fact, sand storms in the Sahara can be so big that they are visible from outer space,” Beautiful World

 

TRAVEL CORNER SAHARA DESERT: SAHARA HAS MANY MOUNTAINS 

Image Animal Picture Society

Sahara also has many mountains, whose peaks may also get covered by snow in the extreme winter. Nature lovers might find the desert life interesting to study.

 

SLIDE SHARE AHMAR_NOOR THE SAHARA DESERT: PARTS OF THE SHARA ARE RICH AND FERTILE

Image Missionari Comboniani

There’s about 80,000 sq mi of oases across the Sahara. That is, over two percent of the Sahara is covered by oases. Even though the desert does not see much water or rain, the land in various parts of the desert remains very fertile. In fact, irrigation system in Egypt due to the river Nile has produced an astounding result, and it could transform into a green haven in the future. The most amazing of facts regarding Sahara desert is that the wind is capable of blowing its fertile sand all the way to the Amazon. The fertile sand revitalizes the minerals in Amazon rainforest and hikes up the fertility there.

 

 An extreme environment is one where it is hard for people (or other forms of live) to survive. Extreme environments can be as vast as a desert or as small as a mountain peak.

 

ELIST10 TOP 10 FASCINATING FACTS SAHARA DESERT : INCREDIBLY  ADAPTIVE SAHARA DESERT ANIMALS

Desert Horned Viper

Sahara desert is known to be the home to some of the most fascinating species of animals in this planet. The animals that inhabit Sahara desert are quite unique and most of them can’t be found elsewhere in the world. Have you ever heard of Horned Vipers? These endangered species of reptiles are found in Sahara. Other interesting animals that can be found in Sahara are: Dromedary Camels, Dorcas Gazelle, Dung Beetle, The Addax Antelope, Deathstalker Scorpion, Ostrich, Monitor Lizard, Fennec Fox, and The Jerboa among others. If we look back to thousands of years ago, there used to be enough water in Sahara. So the people and animals were able to survive. Scientists have found the evidences of the existence of river animals like crocodiles. They have also discovered the fossils of Dinosaurs, Jobaria, Afrovenator, and Ouranosaurus in the Sahara desert.

And according to Traveler Corner, there are about 70 animal species which include the spotted hyena, gerbil, sand fox, cape hare, gazelles, antelopes, sand viper and the monitor lizard etc

 

ELIST10 TOP 10 FASCINATING  FACTS SAHARA DESERT: OVER A THOUSAND SPECIES OF PLANTS GROW IN SAHARA

IMAGE PORTER YATES

There are around 1200 species of plants that grow in Sahara. The South Libyan Desert—very driest part of the Sahara—harbors very few species of plants. But there are many hundreds of different species of oases. There is the sparse and widely scattered vegetation in Sahara that mainly includes succulents, trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses. The Saharan plants are easily adapted to heat and drought conditions. In addition to that, many varieties can survive in salty conditions as well. To name few of the major plants found in Sahara, we shouldn’t miss out African Peyote Cactus, Red Acacia Trees, Common Fig, Doum Palm, Thyme, Date Palm and so on.

 

WIRED: HOW THE SAHARA KEEPS THE AMAZON GREEN

The Sahara Desert is huge, hot, and full of sand and dust. The Amazon basin is huge, warm, but full of greenery and wildlife. And one can’t live without the other. The Amazon, it seems, depends on the Sahara for its very survival.

The link: Dust. Specifically, phosphorous and other nutrients, kicked up by the wind and spread half a world away. “Even tens of millions of years after South America separated from Africa, the two continents are still inextricably linked, like an older brother and a younger brother,” says Charlie Zender, a climate scientist at the University of California, Irvine. Researchers have known for decades that wind could transport dust transcontinentally, but a new analysis of satellite data shows just how important that process is.

It’s a question of volume. By measuring dust at different altitudes, a NASA satellite called CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) reveals that the Sahara exports 182 million tons every year, enough to fill 689,290 semi trucks. Much of that falls into the ocean. Some makes it to the Caribbean islands. And some—about 27.7 million tons—settles over the Amazon River basin.

For the Amazon, this dust is like manna from heaven. Even though the Amazon has plenty of nutrients, rain and flooding washes away a lot of the phosphorous in the soil, a fertilizing nutrient critical to plant growth. The new data suggests that the winds deliver about 22,000 more tons of phosphorous from the Sahara every year—just enough to make up for what’s lost. “If you don’t have this African dust transport to the Amazon, in 10 years, or in 100 years, the Amazon will have lost a lot of phosphorous,” says Hongbin Yu, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland, who led the study. “That’s a big problem for the plants.”

And where do those plants owe their specific gratitude? An ancient lakebed in Chad called the Bodélé Depression, where airflow and topography combine in just the right way. “Without that dust, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet wouldn’t be as rich,” Zender says. Best penpal ever.

 

Final Conclusion:

Truly, some of the facts about the Sahara Desert are strange indeed.  This isn’t surprising. The sahara is a vast expanse stretching for over 3,000 miles across the northern tier of Africa. Being the hottest desert area in the world, the Sahara shares  lot of space in which environmental,geographical, flora and fauna, climate, and people quirks can occur. The desert itself has gone through dramatic changes in temperature and moisture over the past few hundred thousand years. Even more interesting would be the fact that the desert is expected to become green again in about some 15000 years.

 

SOURCE:

Wikipedia

Live Science

Interesting Facts Fun

SlideShare

Flex Mag

Conservation Institute

Thought Co

Related Post


What are your thoughts?