We sincerely hope that you enjoy this article about 4 Amazing North American Deserts. While some people believe that deserts hold little to appreciate, nothing could be further from the truth. Herein, we will present to you four examples of the deserts, and their various forms of beauty, just from this part of the world. So, sit back, and enjoy the read.
Death Valley Facts
- The first entry into this article about 4 Amazing North American Deserts is the astonishing site appropriately known as Death Valley.
- The term for this site serves as the name of a severe desert valley. In addition, this marvel of Nature is located in an entirely surprising part of the world. That holds true because it formed in what’s now Eastern California, in the United States.
- Its unique geology helps to make it one of the most astounding of such sites in the world. This makes it the driest, lowest, and hottest region found in North America. This stunning location itself contains features completely unique to this part of the globe.
- Among them sits an area that holds a place in the record books. That’s the highly appropriately named Furnace Creek. That’s due to the fact that, in this location, in 1913, the highest air temperature ever recorded was reached; 134 F (56.7 C).
- Yet another feature found within Death Valley holds a prominent position, at least in scientific circles. This region is known by the unusual name of Badwater Basin. It has the lowest elevation in North America, at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level.
- Further, its dangerous, but stark, beauty, has served it well. The desert region currently forms the cornerstone of the remarkable Death Valley National Park. This, in turn, comprises part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve.
Death Valley Geology
Death Valley remains considered to be one of the finest examples of its type of feature in the world. The area classifies among scientists as a basin and range configuration. Further, the incredible area sits at the extreme southern end of a trough known as Walker Lane.
This trough, itself quite impressive, proceeds north into the state of Oregon. The magnificent valley also remains bisected by a slip fault system. Furnace Creek also flows into the remarkable valley. Eventually, however, this dries up in the sands of the valley floor.
Quite noticeably, extensive areas of sand dunes also cover large portions of the Death Valley. In addition, numerous features known as salt pans are also located in the region. These form the remains of several inland seas that were present during the Pleistocene era.
Furthermore, the evaporation of these ancient seas left behind an impressive legacy. Their departure deposited large quantities of sodium and borax This long-term process also left behind large quantities of the minerals sodium and borax.
Death Valley Climate
The astounding feature aptly known as Death Valley fully earns its name. That’s due to the fact that it possesses a quite extensive subtropical, hot desert climate. This climate remains categorized by its long, extremely hot summers, followed by very short warm winters.
Furthermore, rainfall stays scarce and sporadic throughout the entirety of the region. More precisely, such moisture continues to be virtually non-existent in some portions of the site. Also, when the sun heats the air, what little does arrive evaporates with extreme speed.
The high valley walls also help add to the climate of the region. These structures efficiently serve to circulate the hot air back down to the floor of the valley. There it quickly becomes heated to even higher temperatures by the process of compression.
In addition to this, yet another condition adds to the situation. The density of the below sea level air further augments the already powerful process. It accomplishes this by reflecting even more of the already overwhelming heat downwards, back into the valley.
Death Valley Phenomenon
Death Valley also serves as home to a unique phenomenon that had baffled scientists since the 1940’s. Many referred to this as the sailing stones. In a remote region of the valley, known as Racetrack Playa, numerous stones of varying sizes litter the sandy floor of the playa.
Over the decades many of these stones appeared to move, leaving tracks in the sand. These also left behind no apparent explanation. Finally, in 2014, a team of researchers managed to catch the phenomenon in Death Valley in action, and explain it.
Under a rare and unique combination of conditions during the winter, thin sheets of ice form on the floor of the playa. Winds drive the stones slowly across the playa floor, as the ice also breaks up. The process also occurs rarely, and too slowly to be viewed by the naked eye.
Painted Desert Facts
- Next up among our choices for inclusion this compilation of 4 Amazing North American Deserts is the dazzling Painted Desert.
- Perhaps most notably, the term Painted Desert applies to a geological formation unlike anything else in its portion of the globe. That’s instantly obvious to those who see it. Without doubt, this magnificent work of Nature certainly does live up to its name.
- This incredible landscape just seems to perfectly display Nature’s brushstrokes for us to behold and appreciate. Furthermore, this astonishing site formed in a region of the world already well known for its many natural wonders.
- In point of fact, the breathtaking site formed in a beautiful but rugged region. This comprises an area that stretches across portions of what now represents both the Petrified Forest National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park.
- One factor of its formation now serves to provide it with a certain measure of protection. The majority of the rugged terrain of the site lies within land belonging to the Navajo Nation. Large portions of the area can only be accessed by foot or dirt roads.
- Further, the truly gorgeous landscape of the aptly named Painted Desert has a potential dark side to it. Its beauty does come with a bit of a potential price for the unwary. That’s because, while beautiful, the area also remains quite dangerous.
- As a result of this natural characteristic, very specific precautions now exist for the safety of the intrepid and determined visitors. Travelling the rugged dirt roads of the arduous region now requires the acquisition of a special permit.
Painted Desert Geology
Firstly, the local Native American tribes take strict, but laudable precautions. These include carefully restricting access to the stunning Painted Desert. This the local population does to protect both its natural beauty, as well as the safety of the tourists themselves.
Thankfully, the traditions of these Indigenous Peoples have always respected the many wonders of Nature. Secondly, this marvelous work of Nature formed from a highly unique combination of extremely slow, but nonetheless inexorable, factors.
That holds true due to the very distinct and complicated nature of the formation itself. This occurs due to the presence of a special combination of stratified layers of mudstone, shale, and sandstone. Further, millions of years of erosion subsequently exposed those layers.
Thirdly, the layers displayed in the Painted Desert have different compositions. Each contains large quantities of both manganese and iron. As a result of the presence of these, the different concentrations of the minerals form the source of varying colors and shades.
Painted Desert Location and Climate Base
The wonder of the painted Desert formed in a rugged and remote portion of North America. More precisely, though, this sincerely wondrous example of geological artwork forms part of the area presently known as the Badlands, in the Four Corners portion of the United States.
In addition to the deposits of minerals and subsequent erosion, other factors played a role in the creation of this masterpiece. Many layers of ash from volcanic activity contributed their own colors to the beauty of the area. The combination created a vivid effect.
This location deserves notice for yet another reason. That’s due to its sheer size, in total area, as well as its great visual beauty. In fact, the total area of the region equals roughly 93,500 acres (42,500 hectares). However, its size also leads to certain environmental factors.
Finally, that holds true since the region also has a unique climate. This occurs due to the rain shadow of the nearby formation known as the Mongolian Rim. As a result, the local summers become hot and dry. But, the winters in the Painted Desert become quite cold.
Carcross Desert Facts
- The third entry into this compendium of 4 Amazing North American Deserts is another big surprise to many, the Carcross Desert.
- This most distinctive location stands out from other similar locations around the world. That occurs partly due to its uniqueness. Just like the Maine Desert, its status as an actual desert also remains a source of ongoing debate among scientists.
- Furthermore, assuming its status as confirmed, this remarkable geological feature remains one of the northernmost deserts on earth. In point of fact, one of the most astounding things about this surprising site remains its location.
- However, that certainly isn’t the only thing that makes this impressive site so fascinating to those visit it. Quite interestingly, the story of the conservation efforts for the fabulous Carcross Desert unfolds significantly different from most.
- For one thing, there remains most unusual story behind its formation. The beginning of this story took place in the year 1992. To be more precise, at that time, the local government attempted to enact a conservation program for the region.
- Astonishingly, the local populace actually rejected the idea. This represented exactly the opposite of what usually happens in such situations. But, the cause was an ulterior motive. The location remains popular with the local inhabitants.
Carcross Desert Physical Description
The small but gorgeous Carcross Desert elegantly proves the point that beauty does not depend upon sheer physical size. That statement holds true due to the simple fact that this marvel of Nature has a size that’s dwarfed by the better known deserts of the world.
In fact, this mesmerizing region of the world boasts an area equaling only roughly 6.23 sq mi (16.14 sq km). But, its distinctiveness does not end there. That’s because the entirety of the region of the Carcross Desert remains arid, despite the climate of the surrounding region.
In addition, this situation occurs in relation with local weather patterns. That’s due to the rain shadow effect of the nearby Yukon mountains. Plus, the area is also prone to strong winds which continually supply the region with new sand from the shores of Lake Bennet.
Carcross Desert Location, Ecology, and Recreation
Despite the name, the Carcross Desert does not technically measure as dry enough to be classified as a desert. However, it nonetheless remains significantly drier than the surrounding area. In point of fact, this extends to the entire country.
That holds true due to the fact that the site receives less than 2 in (50 mm) of rain per year. The rest of the country in which it formed, Canada, has a much damper climate. Despite these highly arid conditions, however, a few hardy plants have adapted to the climate.
Most notable among these is the extremely rare Baikal Sedge. The plant’s only known to exist in four other locations in North America. Another species of flora that flourishes here, despite being extremely rare in surrounding regions, is the lovely but delicate Yukon Lupine.
Furthermore, geological evidence also shows that the area now forming the Carcross Desert holds a surprising history. To the amazement of many, the region once comprised a lake bed. However, this occurred long ago, back in the Pleistocene Epoch.
To be more precise, as well as technically, the area actually qualifies as a close grouping of sand dunes. These also appear closely adjacent to the nearby Lake Bennet. Also, the bountiful sand deposited during the last period of glacial activity.
Further, the extremely unusual location quickly earned it a distinct status. That’s due to its popularity for various recreational activities. As a result, numerous local residents, and increasingly tourists, as well, utilize the dunes for several activities.
Additionally, these include numerous activities. Among these is such uses as hiking, all-terrain vehicular activities, and sand boarding. Finally, the nature of the remarkable site also appears to be rapidly making it a popular site for skydiving.
Maine Desert Facts
- The final of our 4 Amazing North American Deserts is yet another entry that will surprise many people, the aptly-named Maine Desert.
- The remarkable location, among other factors, remains an incredibly unexpected feature within its region. However, this astonishing marvel , of the work of Nature also goes by the name of the Desert of Maine.
- Regardless of the name one uses, however, one indisputable fact about this sire stands out. That’s the fact that this location actually forms a surprising geological phenomenon. Thus, names can sometimes be quite deceptive.
- That holds true due to the fact that, in the minds and opinions of some individuals, this site does not qualify as a true desert. That perspective occurs because the surrounding climate remains much too wet and cold to meet some definitions.
- Furthermore, the formation of this truly astounding feature did not come about naturally. In point of fact, this quite dry, arid region, whether it constitutes an actual desert or not, actually owes its existence to human activity.
- Nonetheless, the surprising knowledge of its origins does nothing to detract from its fascinating nature. Finally, and also quite understandably, the very uniqueness of the Maine Desert has garnered it a modest claim to fame.
- This holds true due to yet another fascinating statistic. That’s the fact the location has been preserved as a natural oddity. Further, that’s been the case since 1925. In addition, a small museum and gift shop exist on the property.
Maine Desert Physical Description
For all the controversy surrounding the Maine Desert, several key facts stand out when one considers it. Firstly, regardless of its origins, it covers a tiny area. Secondly, however, a debate over whether or not it’s actually a desert remains ongoing among concerned scientists.
As a result of this continuing situation, the formation does not officially hold the title of the smallest desert on earth. In fact, for the present moment, at least, the somewhat larger Carcoss Desert, in Canada, also finds itself in the very same predicament.
But, regardless of any official status, the site constitutes an interesting phenomenon. In terms of size, though, the Maine Desert only covers approximately 40 acres (16.2 ha). In this, it aptly demonstrates the fact that size has no bearing on impressiveness.
No matter its official situation, this unique feature definitely qualifies as unique, at the very least. That’s due not only to its origins, but also to its very nature. This occurs because it does not, in fact, consist of sand. It’s actually composed of glacial silt.
Maine Desert History and Formation
While it formed only recently, the beginnings of the story of the Maine Desert begins roughly 10,000 years ago. At the end of the last ice age, the glaciers retreated. As they did so, the foundations for the future formation of this fascinating site actually began.
The actual site of this beginning now represents the state of Maine, in the United States, in North America. During the course of the slow but inexorable retreat of these glaciers, the withdrawing ice sheet went to work creating the masterpiece.
As a result of that movement, the ice ground rocks into a fine powder, known as glacial silt. Over the passage of millennia, copious quantities of topsoil became deposited over this. This finished condition remained comparatively stable for many thousands of years.
Then came huge numbers of European settlers. Eventually, a local family established a farm on this site. This occurred in 1797. Yet the people failed to manage the land properly. Poor farming practices also combined with overgrazing to erode the topsoil.
One day, a small patch of the underlying sand appeared. Furthermore, this formation quickly spread, eventually taking over the entire farm. Subsequent to this development, the Maine Desert was born. To date, it’s depth has never been measured.
Eventually, bowing to the inevitable, the family abandoned the farm in 1919. A man named Henry Goldrup purchased the property in 1925. Recognizing its uniqueness, he opened the site as a tourist attraction. Today, nature appears to be slowly reclaiming the area.
4 Amazing North American Deserts
We truly hope that you have greatly enjoyed this article about 4 Amazing North American Deserts. Locations such as these contain their own form of beauty, as well as often serving as home to species found nowhere else. But, like many places around the world, some of them find themselves in trouble. Factors such as climate change and human activities threaten to destabilize their delicately balanced ecosystems. It’s up to us to do all that we can to preserve these works of Nature.