Desert soils form in areas where the demand for water by the setting (evaporation) and also plants (transpiration) is much better than precipitation. Deserts cover 20 come 33% that the earth land surface, and can be uncovered in the tropics, at the poles, and also in between.

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Penguins live in deserts too! as Antarctica is among the driest areas on the planet.

Deserts are identified as being very dry. Not every one of them room hot, or sandy. The Antarctic continent is a dry, polar desert. In ~ the south pole, the doesn"t snow really often, though, punch snow can accumulate up to 20 cm. Also though moisture levels space really low, deserts space prone to speed flooding when they obtain rain. This is what causes all of the interesting and also colorful absent formations. The absence of floor moisture keeps mineral from leaching the end of the soils and also can even create cement like horizons near the soil surface.

Dunes are sands blown right into piles.


Most desert soils are referred to as Aridisols (dry soil). However, in yes, really dry regions of the Sahara and Australian outback, the soil orders are referred to as Entisols. Entisols are new soils, choose sand dunes, which room too dry for any significant soil horizon development. They additionally occur in floodplains after ~ a feather flood, i m sorry is why castle can take place in the desert.


When it rains in the desert, seed sprout and form desert blooms.

The desert may look dry, yet it still has a most living organisms. This has a living, biological crust, i m sorry is developed by algae, moss, and lichens in a group. Aridisols are really fertile, however, regularly don"t have actually the rainfall to sustain life. As soon as it rains, dormant seeds wake up and type desert blooms. The long-term vegetation (like cacti and shrubs) is very well adapted to living without moisture for long periods of time.

Most desert crusts space bacteria, and protect the soils surfaces from suddenly rainfall.

Relief and Parent Materials

Relief and Parent materials in the desert are extremely variable, depending on where the desert is. Several of the desert rock attributes that crumble and kind Entisols at the basic are an extremely steep, as are several of the dunes. Various other features, favor the Racetrack Playa in death valley are flat due to the fact that they room old lakebeds. The soils come in all various textures, and can be deposited by wind or water.


Some deserts are an extremely old, and also because that desertification, others room remarkably new. Desertification is the dispersing of the deserts into areas that were not previously desert, is brought about by several different things. See the desertification web page for an ext information.

Special problems in the Desert

This is one area of manufacturing in the central Valley of California.

The deserts are very fertile, which means that, if provided with water, castle can prosper a many food. This can by excellent by providing water with watering technology. The central Valley in California to produce 250 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and does so through river water, aquifers, and streams.

Sometimes irrigation water have the right to be used up, so the is important to think about conservation options. Irrigating in a dried climate, particularly flood irrigation can cause the water come evaporate really quickly. Once that happens, the salts are left behind ~ above the soil surface. This build up of salt is referred to as salinization. Since couple of crops can attend to high salt levels, the soils end up being too braided to thrive anything. For much more information, visit the salinization page.


This is salt buildup that can result from mismanagement the water resources.

Where are these soils?

Desert soils (Aridisols) occupy around 12% that the earth ice-free soil surface, and also 8% the the United claims land area, every in the western states: Texas, new Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, Oregon, and also Washington. However, deserts themselves accounting a full of 33% the the people land area, through Antartica occupying one more 14%.



For more information top top the desert, including downloadable PowerPoints, evaluate questions, and also educational links, you re welcome visit the SCOOP! teacher Guide.

The Desert biome - website for all points desert related. Deserts of the US and the World, geology, culture, and survival tips! maintained by Digital-West Media Inc, Santa Barbara, CA.

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UC-Berkeley website has an ext information on the desert biomes, consisting of plants, and detailed climate breakdowns because that the four significant desert types

Kids perform Ecology - college of California in ~ Santa Barbara


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