When you think of a desert what do you think of? Vast areas of land that comprise of nothing but sand and a ridiculously hot climate?
Well this is one of many types of desert. It is correct to refer to a desert as dry, with very little or no vegetation which is inhabitable, however not all deserts are hot.
|Polar Desert - Antarctica|
I will now discuss the different types of desert:
- Polar and ice deserts, e.g. Antarctica
- Continental interior deserts, e.g. Gobi Desert of Mongolia
- Trade wind deserts (subtropical deserts), found between 30°N (Tropic of Cancer) and 30°S (Tropic of Capricorn) of the equator (between Hadley cells), e.g. Sahara Desert and Simpson Desert.
- Coastal deserts, where cold oceans are located next to hot coastal regions e.g. Atacama Desert and Kalahari Desert.
- Orographic deserts (rain shadow deserts), located near mountains e.g. Basin and Range of Nevada and eastern Oregon’s deserts.
|Coastal Desert - Namibia|
It must be noted that deserts all have one thing in common, they receive less than 25cm of precipitation a year.
- Abrasion –the weathering process whereby materials moved by wind/water wear against each other and solid surfaces.
- Ventifacts – Large rocks that are subject to erosion by the transportation of sand and ice crystals by the wind.
|Trade wind desert - The Sahara|
- Desert varnish – the red to black coating found on exposed rocks in arid regions. These colours are formed by oxides (iron and manganese) that are carried by the wind.
- Desert pavement – the process in which desert winds carry/remove the finer sands in an area leaving the coarser materials behind.