The word desert evokes in us the idea of a oppressive heat that dries up the throat and fogs the senses, so much so as to show what is not there, deceived by the mirages of the Fata Morgana. But perhaps not everyone knows that these optical jokes don't just happen in desolate and torrid lands, but also in very cold areas.
Because deserts are not only sunny and deadly sandy dunes, where lines of camels create isolated dark shadows in search of cool oases, but also territories very different from what the collective imagination suggests. We therefore know i 20 largest and most important deserts in the world.
20 - Salar de Uyuni - 10.582 km²
Type: of salt
The largest salt flat in the world is located in Bolivia, at 3650 m. The Incas believed in the danger of the Ojos de Salar (eyes of the salt desert) that swallowed the caravans. In reality they exist and are holes from which the water below comes out and which thanks to the light can become invisible and, therefore, very dangerous.
19 - Mojave Desert - 65.000 km²
This plateau, rich in salt basins, is located in California. It is very rich in plants and mineral deposits. Includes the famous Death Valley, famous for its mysterious wandering rocks.
18 - Namib Desert - 80.900 km²
Type: coastal fresh
In Namibia are one of the oldest deserts in the world. Rich in endemic species capable of adapting to a hostile environment, whose only source of water is fog, it is instead uninhabited by humans.
17 - Atacama Desert: 105.200 km²
Type: coastal fresh
located in Chile, is characterized by a strong thermal excursion, whose temperatures oscillate between 0 ° C at night and 25-30 ° C during the day. IS' the driest desert in the world.
16 - Thar Desert: 200.000 km²
Also known as Great Indian Desert, is a large and arid region in the northwestern part. The name in the local languages indicates the sand dunes present in the region.
15 - Sonoran Desert: 310.800 km²
Also called Gila Desert, is a desert located in North America. It is characterized by a remarkable variety of animals, mainly reptiles, including the famous the Monster of Gila.
14 - Colorado Plateau: 337.000 km²
Vast region in the southwestern United States crossed by the Colorado River and its tributaries. These particularly winding rivers have carved deep canyons into the rocks. The most famous is the Grand Canyon.
13 - Karakum Desert: 350.000 km²
It essentially extends into Turkmenistan and is characterized by the "Gate of Hell": a hole created by man in 1971 with the aim of finding oil which, however, caused the ground to collapse, opening a crater.
To prevent the methane from escaping causing serious damage to the environment, it was set on fire. It has been burning ever since.
12 - Great Sandy Desert: 360.000 km²
It is an arid desert. Rain can also be absent for years. Its summers are among the hottest in all ofAustralia.
11 - Chihuahua Desert: 360.000 km²
It extends between the United States and Mexico. It is a plain interrupted by numerous small mountain ranges. According to the WWF it is the desert with the greatest biodiversity.
10 - Great Victoria Desert: 424.400 km²
It is an arid and sparsely populated region ofAustralia. The British explorer Giles, the first European to cross it, gave him the name of his Queen.
9 - Great Basin: 492.000 km²
It almost entirely occupies the state of Nevada and part of Utah (Use). In the central part there is a vast depression which forms the bottom of a ancient prehistoric lake.
8 - Kalahari: 520.000 km²
"The great thirst" is found in Africa, for 70% of its territory in Botswana. Despite its name, it is home to lions, hyenas, antelopes, meerkats and many species of plants, especially grasses and acacias.
7 - Syrian desert: 673.000 km²
It is an alternation of steppes and desert, in the Northern Arabian Peninsula. It is full of beautiful oases including Palmira, la Damascus city it arises in one of them.
6 - Patagonian Desert: 673.000 km²
It is the largest desert in the whole American continent. It is found mainly in Argentina with small portions in Chile. Its wind, the Zonda, has shaped curious clay shapes.
5 - Gobi Desert: 1.300.000 km2
It is a vast desert ofAsia, which occupies parts of China and Mongolia. Fauna and flora are severely lacking, except for a few thorny shrubs and some species of rodents and snakes.
4 - Rub 'al-Khali: 2.330.000 km2
And the largest sand desert in the world and takes up almost half of the whole Saudi Arabia. To this day it is still largely unexplored and practically uninhabited. Its red sand dunes can reach heights higher than the Eiffel Tower.
3 - Sahara: 8.600.000 km2
Its name perfectly suggests what it evokes: an apparently uninhabited land immersed in immense solitude. The desert of Sahara, "the void", is the largest hot desert on Earth and is located inNorthern Africa. There are totally no surface water courses, but, thanks to numerous underground aquifers, the typical oases are generated.
2 - Arctic: 13.700.000 km2
L'Arctic it is the region of the Earth surrounding the North Pole. It is made up of various parts of Europe, Asia and America and the pack ice of Glacial Artic Sea. Here the suggestive phenomenon of "Midnight Sun": from April to September it sets around midnight remaining in the horizon line.
1 - Antarctica: 13.829.430 km2
It is not just an icy desert, it is also the southernmost continent on Earth, as well as the coldest and most inhospitable on the planet. Located inSouthern Hemisphere, includes the lands and seas surrounding the South Pole. 98% of its territory is covered by ice, the average thickness of which is 1600 meters.