17 Sahara Desert Facts: Exploring the World’s Largest Hot Desert

The Sahara Desert is one of the most popular and largest deserts in the world and also the largest hot desert in the world. It is the third largest desert, with an area of 9,200,000 square kilometers. This desert comprises a lot of areas of North Africa.

This desert has been around for around 3 million years. Today the population in the Sahara Desert is about 4 million, with many people living in Libya, Egypt, Alegria, Mauritania, and Western Sahara.

This desert is barren, stony, and devoid of streams and rivers. So, in this article, let us explore some amazing facts about the Sahara Desert. 

Facts About Sahara Desert

It is the largest hot desert:

The Sahara Desert is popular as the largest hot desert in the world. Also, it is the third-largest desert in the world after the Arctic and Antarctica. A hot desert is defined as a region where the average temperature in the hottest months is more than 64 degrees Fahrenheit. In this desert, temperatures can reach up to 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, wind storms in the Sahara may be really dangerous and can cause a lot of damage once they start. 

It Is The Largest Hot Desert

The Sahara has the world’s largest sand dune and also the largest hot desert oasis:

The Erg Chebbi dune in Morocco is the world’s largest sand dune. It is more than 500 feet tall. This dune is a popular destination for tourists who come to hike and enjoy the stunning desert views.

Also, the Sahara has the largest hot desert oasis in the world. This oasis is home to more than 200,000 date palms and is nourished by a natural spring that provides water for the local agriculture and population.

Several mountains have risen out of the surrounding area:

The Sahara Desert is home to many famous mountains, like the Hoggar Mountains in Southern Algeria, which rise to 2.91 kilometers, and the Air Mountains of Northern Niger, rising up to 2.02 kilometers in height.

The Saharan Atlas rises in Tunisia, and Libya and Chad share between them the Tibesti Mountains. Sudan and Egypt share the Red Sea Hills between them. Also, Chad has the Emi Koussi, the dormant volcano, which is the highest peak in the Sahara and has a height of 3.42 kilometers.

Several Mountains Have Risen Out Of The Surrounding Area

The Sahara Desert doesn’t look uniform:

According to many popular fictions, people think that the Sahara is a vast region covered with sand as far as the eye can see. In reality, only ergs, or sand seas, make up a small part of this desert. Rather, stone plateaus known as hamadas make up most part of the Saharan landscape.

Other notable features of this landscape include gravel plains, regs, salt flats, and dried-up valleys and lakes.

The Sahel:

The tropical savannah is called the Sahel; hence, it is very green in the rainy season. This Sahel stretches all the way across the continent of Africa, similar to the Sahara stretches to the north. Both of them also share a similar root for their names, with the Arabic word Sahel meaning shore or coast. Also, only small parts of this Sahel border are either the Red Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

Moreover, it refers to how the Sahel creates the Sahara’s southern shore. Some historians argue that the name of this region is derived from another Arab word, Sahl or plain.

The Richat structure:

Situated in Mauritania, the Richat Structure forms a dome that is made from several circular layers of sedimentary rock. Though, deep inside, volcanic rocks form the heart of this Richat Structure.

In the 1930s, scientists first discovered this, and since then have tried to find out how it formed. At first, they thought that a meteor was the reason behind this, but in the 2000s, evidence showed it wasn’t. 

Now, scientists think that hydrothermal waters created the dome in the past, but research is still ongoing to prove this theory.

The Richat Structure

Nights in the Sahara are not that cold:

A common myth is that, in all deserts, the nights are very cold. In reality, it only seems that, in the Sahara Desert, due to the heat of the day, the average temperature at night only drops to about 20 degrees Celsius. 

However, exceptions also exist, like in winter in the mountainous regions in the Sahara Desert, the temperatures drop to a freezing point of even lower.

The Sahara Desert experiences temperature extremes:

The Sahara Desert receives almost 3600 hours of sunlight every year. In fact, some parts of the eastern desert actually experience approximately 4000 hours of sunlight every year.  

Thus, this places this region at a maximum limit of sunlight that any region of the Earth may receive. The average daytime temperature in this desert lies around 40 degrees Celsius, and at maximum, it can go a lot lighter. Thus, the recorded hottest temperature of this place reached up to 47 degrees Celsius.

The Sahara Desert Experiences Temperature Extremes

The Sahara Desert is home to several of the oldest human civilizations:

The Sahara Desert has a rich history of human settlement, with human activities dating back to at least 5000 BC. This region was home to multiple ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, who established trading posts along the coast, and the Berbers, who were the inhabitants of the interior part.

Rainfall is scarce in the Sahara Desert:

When the rain falls, it mainly occurs along the Mediterranean coast or even along the edges of the Sahel. At most, there is an average of only 7 inches of rainfall in a year. As for the rest of the Sahara, the desert receives, on average, only one millimeter of rain in a year.

In fact, in several parts of the eastern desert, the annual average rainfall is as low as 0.5 millimeters.

There are more than 500 species of flora:

Despite its arid conditions, the Sahara Desert is home to a shocking number of plant species, including acacia trees, date palms, and cacti. Many of these plants have adapted to the harsh weather conditions of the desert by developing thick leaves and deep root systems that help them to retain water.

Moreover, some plants can even enter hibernation and survive by getting dried up and turning green again only when the water returns.

The Sahara Desert is home to various species of large animals:

The Sahara Desert is also home to various species of large animals, including gazelles, camels, and cheetahs. These animals have adapted to the extreme conditions of this desert by developing various significant physical features, like long legs, that help them to survive in this harsh environment.

Moreover, multiple fox species also live in this desert, such as Ruppell’s fox and fennec fox. Also, some species of lizards and snakes live here. In addition, here you can see the Addax antelope, who can go for a year without drinking water.

The Sahara Desert Is Home To Various Species Of Large Animals

You can see here the Silver ant:

As mentioned earlier, the animals and plants in this desert have unique adaptations that let them survive in harsh environments. Such as, their body creates special heat shock proteins that can prevent damage that occur due to quick jumps in temperature.

Also, they can move quickly at a speed of almost 855 millimeters per second. They must move quickly to scavenge for food outside of their nests, mainly dying or dead animals. In addition, they can stay for almost 10 minutes in the Sun and if they stay any longer, they will die from extreme heat.

The Sahara is home to many beautiful rock formations:

The Sahara Desert is home to many beautiful rock formations, such as the Air Mountains in Niger and the Tassili nAjjer plateau in Algeria. These formations have been created by millions of years of weathering and erosion and are a testament to the shocking power of nature.

Moreover, there are various types of geographical regions in the Sahara Desert, such as the mountainous regions of the Eastern, Southern, and Western Sahara, and also the woodlands of the Southern and Northern Sahara.

The Sahara Is Home To Many Beautiful Rock Formations

Ancient humans in this desert practiced astronomy:

Many archaeologists found stone circles in Northern Europe’s Nabta Playa and Stonehenge. Situated almost 800 kilometers from Egypt’s Great Temple at Abu Simbel, they dated the place back to about 7500 BC. 

This makes it 2000 years older than Stonehenge. Studies about this place showed that the locals used it to determine the summer solstice, along with the position of different starts over the year. Also, this helped them to keep time, just like using a calendar.

There are still some nomadic tribes in the Sahara Desert:

The tribal people known as Berbers make up the oldest of these tribes who lived in this desert from as far back as 10000 BC. Many archaeologists think of these Berbers as the original inhabitants of this desert. Today, the people of this tribe have scattered across the regions, like Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, etc.

Some of the ancient tribes of this desert even painted various themes into the caves. The oldest cave rock showed pictures of rhinos, elephants, and even giraffes.

There Are Still Some Nomadic Tribes In The Sahara Desert

Trade once flourished here:

In the 19th century, slaves made up a vital commodity. They were transported from the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa to various ports of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Some other vital goods, like silk and gold from Asia, were also carried across. However, in the 19th century, the importance of the trade routes in this desert started to decline.

Trade Once Flourished Here

The construction of the Suez Canal and the spread of air travel were the causes behind this decline.Thus, the Sahara Desert has harsh conditions, a vast expanse, and unique characteristics, making it a fascinating destination for many scientists, adventurers, and tourists. 

At the end of this article, we learned about 17 really amazing facts about this fascinating part of the world. These facts offer us a clear picture of this important region of our planet known as the Sahara Desert. To know more, you may visit our website.

Sahara Desert Facts
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