Saturday, December 31, 2011

9 Really Unusual Deserts

Kilometers of sand, rocks, sandbanks, and sceneries evoking lunar landscapes are all about a journey in a desert and are certainly, a unique adventure. All the deserts are not the same. Here are the most unusual deserts of the world.

1. A Desert With Lagoons - Lencois Maranhenses, Brasil
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Amazingly stretched in Brazil, it is almost impossible to believe that the desert where water has no word is full of lagoons. Situated in the State of Maranhao on the north shore, this desert is in the Lencois Maranhenses National Park where white dunes and blue lagoons have a contrasting match.
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The lagoons are formed due to rain drops that accumulate on the depression between dunes forming small ponds of clear water. You can see them only after winters but before summers where species of fish, turtles, and clams live.

2. The Colorful Desert - Painted Desert, USA
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The Painted Desert (Arizona) is an expanse of badland hills, flat-topped mesas and buttes. It is an arid land, sparsely vegetated and heavily eroded. The name Painted Desert refers to the rainbow of colorful sedimentary layers exposed in the austere landscape. 
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The landforms of the Painted Desert have been described as a multicolored layer cake. The variety of hues in the sandstone and mudstone layers of the Chinle Formation is the result of the varying mineral content in the sediments and the rate at which the sediments were laid down.

3. Officially the World's Smallest Desert - Carcross Desert, Canada
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The Carcross Desert (located outside Carcross village, Yukon) is affectionately known as the world's smallest desert. The dry climate and wind conditions have created sand dunes and forced special vegetation to adapt to the surroundings. The Carcoss Desert measures approximately 1 square mile (2.6 km2), or 640 acres.

4. The World's Largest Gypsum Desert - White Sands, USA
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Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, dunes have engulfed 275 sq mi (712 sq km) of desert creating the world's largest gypsum desert. White Sands has amazing sand dunes. Some of these are over 40 feet  (12 m) tall. Unlike other desert sands, it is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun's rays.

5. The Black Desert - Egypt
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The Black Desert is a region of volcano-shaped mountains with large quantities of small black stones. The stones lie out across the orange-brown ground, so that it is not quite as black as many people may hope for. Climbing one of the many soft peeks, the view from the top is really nice, with similar peeks continuing on into the haze. The Black Desert is uninhabited, and there are no amenities here.

6. The World's Largest Salt Desert - Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
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This desert, located in Bolivia would change your conception of the idea of deserts completely. It happens to be the largest salt desert in the world but the beauty of the place is exceptional. The desert is completely flat and the so large and crystal in its salty nature that the whole sky seems to be reflected in it creating the ground in different shades of blue. Another beautiful aspect of the desert is the numerous lakes that you will find here, these lakes are in multiple colors because of the minerals that make it up. The effect of these soothing colors is remarkable.
Extracted salt sits in piles  photo source
Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 sq km (4,086 sq mi). The Salar contains large amounts of sodium, potassium, lithium and magnesium, as well as borax. It is estimated to contain 10 billion tonnes of salt, of which less than 25,000 tonnes is extracted annually.

7. Driest Desert in the World - Atacama, Chile
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According to NASA reports, the Atacama desert in Chile is the driest desert in the world. National Geographic has also verified that the Atacama is the driest desert. The Atacama Desert in Chile is over 50 time’s drier that Death Valley in California. The desert covers over 40.600 sq mi (105.000 sq km) and is mostly comprised of salt basins, lava flows, and sand. The average rain fall in the region is just one millimeter per year. Some weather stations in the desert have never reported any rainfall. The weather is so arid that even the mountain peaks that reach over 6,500 m (21 000 ft) have no glaciers.

8. A Desert Covered With Snowfall - Taklamakan, China
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Taklamakan is one of the largest sandy deserts in the world, ranking 15th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts. It covers an area of 270,000 sq km (100,000 sq mi) of the Tarim Basin, 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long and 400 kilometres (250 mi) wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edges by two branches of the silk road as travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland.
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In 2008, China's biggest desert experienced its biggest snowfall and lowest temperature after 11 consecutive days of snow. Snow is rare in the desert that covered 337,600 sq km (130 sq mi), never before had the whole desert been covered.

9. The Red Sand Desert - Simpson Desert, Australia
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Located in Australia and regarded as one of its four large deserts, the Simpson Desert is simply amazing because of the red sand dunes. Not only is this attractive, but another mesmerizing aspect is that it holds the longest parallel dunes on the planet, which are north-south static lines affixed due to vegetation. With varying heights from 3 m to 30 m (10-100 ft), the most famous dune is the Big Red at 40 m (130 ft).
Australian Simpson Desert Plants  photo source
Although the Simpson Desert is a harsh environment, native, spiny grasses known as spinefex bind the loose sand and provide a habitat for over 180 bird species and for lizards and marsupials.
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  1. No Coral Pink Dunes in Utah?

  2. Depending on how one defines "desert", the Dry Valleys in Antarctica are the driest place on Earth.


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