With the expansion over 11 countries, the Sahara desert is one of the most astonishing landforms present on the earth. The details like its picturesque backdrop, varieties of plants, animals, a clear sky with huge sun etc combine to give a beautiful desert called the Sahara desert.
The movie like dazzling golden sizzling sand with formations like a smooth wavy river is breathtaking to view. But is the hottest desert in the world just about sand dunes?
What makes the Sahara desert wonderful is definitely its length which is 4,800 kilometers. But there are some interesting things to note as well. Let me quote some other great facts about this desert below:
● The Sahara desert stands third among the biggest deserts in the world.
People often assume the Sahara desert to be the biggest desert in the world. And it seems obvious due to its grand look and expansion over several countries. But the assumption is wrong.
After Antarctica at first and Arctic at second, the Sahara desert is said to be the largest desert in the world. This means it is the 3rd largest desert and not the first. Yet, it's very wide and is said to be as big as China. Situated in North Africa, the total area of this desert is 9.2 million sq. kilometers covering the countries - Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, Mali, Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and Western Sahara. Algeria has the most part of it as it is 80 percent desert. Other countries that have a huge part of this desert include Egypt and Libya.
● It has a rich past.
You might be wondering whether a desert can have a great history without any life being on it. Surprisingly, many people lived in and at the edges of this desert about a thousand years ago.
It used to be wetter comparatively. The earlier Sahara desert is often called the Green Sahara as it had a lot of vegetation. But the last glacial period changed the desert hugely. This resulted in a dry and hot desert.
Apart from that, the Sahara desert has a history of various animals, tribes and countrymen residing in or nearby like Kiffians, Egyptians, Greeks, Berbers etc. Even today, it has upto 2 million people residing in it out of which most of them speak arabic language.
● It has a good set of flora and fauna today.
The Sahara desert is divided into three parts on the basis of the level of rainfall received. These parts are the northern, southern and the central zones. Its flora is different in different parts as per the fertility of the soil and the amount of rainfall. Some parts of it has many vascular plants while some has a huge number of palm trees. There are shrubs and grasses as well.
Talking of animals, different species of fox reside here like the fennec fox, ruppell’s fox and the pale fox. Then there’s addax, cheetah, hyraxes, camels, wild dogs, scorpions, gazelles, lizards, sand vipers etc.
● It has different types of landforms in it.
Often people think a desert is just sand dunes all around. Of Course there are many sand dunes reaching upto the maximum height of 180 meters. But the Sahara desert has other kinds of landforms like lower plains, hills, ergs, rocky plateaus etc too. And there are many lakes as well!
● The highest temperature recorded here is 57.7 degree celsius.
Being the hottest desert in the world, you must be wondering what has been the highest temperature here. It is 136 degree Fahrenheits which is 57.7 degree celsius. The lowest temperature here has been recorded between -33 degree celsius to -62 degree celsius. Apart from that, the weather here is mostly sunny and clear throughout the year.
● The meaning of the term ‘Sahara’ is as fascinating as the look of it.
Did you think Sahara has no meaning? Or Sahara just came to the people out of nowhere?
But let me state, it is just a synonym of desert in another language. The word ‘Sahara’ is originally from the Arabic vocabulary meaning ‘desert’.
● It has amazing archaeological wonders too!
The Sahara desert becomes even more interesting with the remains like rock paintings and stone structures. Infact, the desert comprises more rocky places like gravel than sand seas or sand dunes.
Fossils of dinosaurs are also found in huge numbers.
● There is a volcano point too!
Being the hottest desert in the world, it seems a bit obvious to discover a volcano point here. Located in the central part of the Sahara desert, the volcano is known as Emi Koussi Volcano. You will find several lava domes and lava flows here.
● The climate change has affected this desert with other deserts as well.
Just like the coldest desert in the world is experiencing the damaging effects of global warming, the hottest desert in the world is also undergoing some
changes. The length of the Sahara desert has increased over time and more parts nearby are becoming dry. Some believe it can be due to natural climate cycles but many believe it's due to climate change caused by humans.
The bottom line:
The Sahara desert is many times assumed to be the biggest desert in the world. And it's understandable as it has a massive coverage including various countries. But the fact is, it is the hottest largest desert in the world and the third largest desert in the world compared among all the deserts.
Another assumption regarding this desert is that it is just sand dunes all around. But interestingly, it is more than that. With over 2 million population and the visit of nomads at regular intervals of time, the desert also has a great set of flora and fauna. It had an interestingly rich past but the future may become damaging due to the climate change. Many places on earth have been affected due to global warming and so is this desert.
With the natural beauty that encircles this desert, it can be said as one of the most breathtaking deserts in the world.