Top Ten Deserts

North American Desert

The North American Desert is composed of the Mojave , Sonoran, Great Basin , and Chihuahuan deserts. The Mojave Desert and Death Valley are probably the best known of its parts. The Mojave covers more than 25,000 square miles, including mountains, sand and gravel basins, and salt flats, and is characterized by great changes in temperature. Although rainfall is limited, cattle grazing is common in the north and urban development (especially in the southwest, around Los Angeles) is pushing plumbing further into the fringes. The Mojave's most famous population center is Las Vegas, Nevada. Joshua Tree National Park also sits in the desert's sere cactused midsts. Once a devastating obstacle to pioneers and westward expansion, the lowest (282 feet below sea level), hottest (134 degrees F is the highest recorded temperature) and driest point in the United States, Death Valley is now a point of attraction. Declared a national monument in 1933 and a national park in 1994, Death Valley's good roads, ghost towns, campgrounds, education tours, and much more keep drawing people in.

Published: 17 Jan 2003 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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