Sahara desert is the world’s most famous desert with covering the majority of Northern Africa. But how much do you really know about this iconic landscape?
Here are 20 facts about Sahara desert that you might not have heard before.
1. The word Sahara is came from Arabic word “ṣaḥrāʾ”, which means “desert”, is the largest hot desert in the world.
It is as big as China or the U.S.A.
3. New research shows that the Sahara desert is at least 4,600,000 years old.
4. The desert situated in Northern Africa with a size of total 3,600,000 square miles or 9,200,000 square kilometers.
It stretches across 11 countries includes Egypt, Sudan, Niger, Morocco, Chad, Algeria, Mali, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia and Western Sahara.
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6. There is a misconception that it is the world’s largest desert. Actually it is the largest hot desert in the world behind Arctic and Antarctica. Which are both cold desert. During summer, temperatures in Sahara average between 38-46 degree Celsius. The highest temperature ever recorded at 58 degree Celsius in Aziziyah, Libya.
The desert is a home of nearly 2.5 million people. Most of them belong to the Barber group. They either live in permanent settlement near water sources or have a nomadic lifestyle, traveling from place to place with herds of camels, ships or goats.
8. Scientists estimate that the desert has grown 10% in the last 100 years.
“Mount Koussi”, an extinct volcano, is the highest point (11,204 feet or 3,415 meter) of Sahara desert situated in northwestern Chad.
The tallest dunes of Sahara desert rise 180 meters above the ground level.
The resurrection plant of Sahara desert can survive over 100 years over water.
“Desert Breath“, a land art project in Sahara desert, created by D.A.ST. Arteam in 1997. It covers over 100,000 square meters and can be seen from the sky.
It consist of 14 smaller deserts that differ in the appearance of the landscape. Most of the Sahara is made up of rocky desert.
Nile river (The longest river in the world) is only one constant river flowing through the Sahara desert.
15. The population density in the Sahara is low, amounting to one person per square kilometer.
In every 41,000 years due to the change in the angle of the Earth’s axis, Sahara turn into a savanna full of lush grasses. The next such change is expected in 15,000 years.
There is a site in Sahara, about 150 km. from Cairo, where over 400 different skeletons of prehistoric cetaceans have been found, including a complete skeleton of Basilosaurus.
18. Sahara is one of the driest place in the world. On average it receives less than 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of rainfall every year.
19. According to scientists, there was a lake beneath the desert which was formed some 250,000 years ago. And the lake had a basin area of 43,000 square kilometers.