The Sahara Desert is one of the most prominent deserts in the world. It experiences the harshest weather on earth. The economy of the Saharan countries relies mainly on mineral deposits and oil.
Sahara Desert is among the world’s most popular desert. It is featured in some of the known Hollywood movies because of its distinct features.
Sahara Desert is considered the hottest and largest desert in the whole world, which covers most part of North Africa. It measures around 800 to 1,200 miles from north to south and 4,800 kilometers from west to east. Africa was inevitably divided into two regions because of the desert’s very vast area. On the western side, the desert is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean while on the eastern side is the Red Sea. On the northern part of the desert, it is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains.
The Sahara Desert is composed of abundant mountains, basins, plains, plateaus and sand seas. Mount Koussi is the highest portion of the Sahara which measures 3,415 meters. The lowest point is the Qaterra Depression located in Egypt 436 feet below.
Basically, Sahara Desert is totally covered with several types of dunes and sand sheets. Such dunes include blown out dunes, transverse dunes and tied dunes. There are even formations of pyramidal dunes reaching at around 150 meters high. The formations of dunes have been studied by many archeologist but they were not able to find answers on how the dunes have been created. It remains a mystery until today.
Weather in the Sahara Desert is mostly dry with occasional rainfall for weeks. After that, it will not rain again for several years. The northern part has a subtropical type of weather, while it is tropical in the southern part. Winter season in the southern part is very mild. The north part is between cool to cold. Snow begins to form in some of the mountain peaks of the desert. During summer, the total area of the desert is very hot reaching even at its highest temperature of 59°C.
Niger River and the Nile River are the only permanent rivers running across the desert. Other rivers are usually seasonal and only come alive on occasional rainfalls and most of the time left as dry river beds.
Saharan countries rely so much on the abundance metallic minerals spread in the desert. Plenty of iron ore deposits can be found in Mauritania and Algeria while smaller deposits can be found in countries like Niger, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. Besides iron ore deposits, Algeria is benefiting from its abundant oil, the major product contributor for its economy.
The Sahara Desert has a total population of around four million. The majority resides in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Western Sahara. Dominant groups are the Tuareg tribes which belong to the Berber groups. Major cities of the Sahara includes the capital of Mauritania Nouakchott, Chad, Tamanrasset, Ghardaia, Timbuktu, Faya-Largeau, Ouargla, Hassi Messaoud, El Oued, Agadez, Ghat and Bechar.
Many of the inhabitants in the desert are called nomads. They travel in caravans looking for trade in other countries of the desert in order to survive. Trade has been one of the major sources of income for the inhabitants of the desert.
The soil of the Sahara is organically inactive and is salty. This is the reason why vegetable plantation is not existent. Only corn, dates and other fruits are grown in some of the desert’s fertile oases which cover a land area of about 200,000 square kilometers.
Animals such as the jackals, antelopes, foxes, deer, baboon, mongoose, cape hare, gazelles and hyena exist in the desert. These animals are well adjusted and can survive with the harsh weather in the Sahara. There are 300 species of birds that can be found in this desert.