Deserts

Where can I find information about deserts around the world?

Image: Commuting in the Desert by Jeremy Cai on Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 03/04/20

Introduction

A desert is one of the world's major biomes. A biome is a large region of Earth that has a certain climate and certain types of plants and animals that have adapted to desert conditions. Some deserts are hot and some are cold, but they are all very dry and get less than 25 centimetres of rainfall a year.

List of famous deserts

The most famous deserts in the world include:

Antarctica: Antarctica is a polar desert located at the South Pole. It is the largest desert in the world.

Arctic: Located at the North Pole the Arctic is also a polar desert. It gets very little rainfall and is so cold that the snow doesn't melt, so deep snow covers the desert.

Sahara Desert:The Sahara is the hottest desert in the world. It covers a large part of north Africa.

Arabian Desert: The Arabian Desert is the largest desert in Asia. Most of it lies in Saudi Arabia.

Gobi Desert: The Gobi Desert is a cold desert, with gets frost and sometimes snow.It covers parts of China and Mongolia.

Kalahari Desert: The Kalahari Desert is a large sandy desert in Southern Africa. The Kalahari Desert is home to many big cats including lions, cheetahs and leopards.

Great Victoria Desert: The Great Victoria Desert is the largest desert in Australia. It is covered with sand dunes and sand hills.

Patagonian Desert: The Patagonian Desert is in Argentina. It is also known as the Patagonian Steppe.

Syrian Desert: The Syrian Desert is a dry, flat desert that stretches across the north of Saudi Arabia, east of Jordan and south of Syria.

Great Basin Desert: The Great Basin Desert is a cold desert. It the largest desert in the USA.

Famous deserts

There are deserts all over the world. Europe is the only continent where there are no deserts. Here are some sites to help you find out more information about them.

Britannica School Middle

Britannica School Middle is part of the EPIC databases put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. You will find lots of information about deserts around the world.

  • Enter the words 'Sahara desert' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • Select to read the article Sahara (desert of Africa). You will find information, images and videos on this topic
  • In the same way enter in the names of the other deserts like the 'Gobi Desert' or 'Patagonian Desert'.
  • You can read an easier article by selecting '1' from the levels at the top of the page.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Ducksters

Ducksters is an educational site covering subjects such as history, science, geography, maths, and biographies. The pages on this site are easy to read and understand.

  • Go to Geography from the list of topics at the top of the page.
  • Scroll down the page to find a list of Geographical Features.
  • Find Deserts at the bottom on the list.
  • This article has more details about famous deserts of the world.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Geology.com

Geology.com is an awesome website about earth science news and information. This is a great place to find out more about deserts.

  • Enter thekeywords 'famous deserts' into the search box at the top of the page
  • Scroll down to find an article called Largest desert in the world.
  • Here you will find lots of useful stuff about the world's most famous deserts, including a map to show where these deserts are in the world.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [famous deserts]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Types of deserts

The websites below have been selected to help you understand the different types of deserts.

Sciencing.com

Sciencing.com is a really useful site for finding out all about science. This is the perfect site for homework help, ideas for projects and news.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

DKfindout

DKfindout is a safe and reliable place for you to find out more about the different types of deserts. The articles on this site are checked by experts so you can trust what you read and that the information will be useful.

Tips: You may see a message about cookies on this website. Cookies are a kind of data collector that is used by some websites to collect information about their users

Plants and animals

Plants and animals that live in the desert have to be specially adapted to help them survive in the harsh climate. Xerophytes like cacti are special plants that can survive on little water in harsh environments like the desert.

Animal Facts Encyclopedia

This is a great place to find animal facts, photos and information.

  • Hover over the heading Animals around the world at the top of the page.
  • Select Desert Animals from the drop-down menu.
  • Read this article or select a photo to find facts about specific desert animals.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Britannica School Middle

Britannica School is a reliable source of information for subjects like history, geography, science, biographies, news and interesting facts.

  • Enter the keyword 'deserts' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • The first result on the list, desert (ecology) has a section about desert plants and animals.
  • In the same way use search words like 'desert plants' and 'desert animals' to find information on desert life around the world.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Conservation

Deserts need to be protected because they are home to many plants, animals and human life. The special dry conditions mean that important minerals are formed in the desert. These include, oil, copper, iron, gold, silver, and uranium.

Sciencing.com

Sciencing.com has a lot of information about deserts and why they should be protected.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

World Wide Fund for Nature

The World Wide Fund for Nature (Also known as The World Wildlife Fund) is a leading organisation for conservation of wildlife and endangered species. The organisation aims to preserve the world's wildlife and reduce human impact on the environment.

  • Enter the keyword 'deserts' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • Go to the first result in your search list Deserts | Habitats - World Wildlife Fund.
  • Scroll down to read this whole article, or select from the links along the top of the page to read about threats to the desert habitat and what WWF are doing to help desert conservation.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife is a conservation organisation whose main aim is to protect all native animals and plants in their natural habitats.

  • Go to the tab Wild places from the top of the page.
  • Scroll down to Deserts to read about desert conservation work.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Books

There are lots of books about deserts. Check your school library or public library to see what they have.

Some recommended titles are:

SCIS no. 1965591
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