North America deserts map, animals and plants, climate, soil and relief

For such natural zones as deserts and semideserts, the predominance of flat terrain, skinny soils and a very specific animal and plant species composition is characteristic. The deserts differ in the composition of soils and can be sandy, rocky, salt marsh, clay and even arctic (snowy and snowless). The semideserts are transition zones that combine the signs of deserts and neighboring areas, for example, steppe. Present on all continents, North America is no exception.

Location and types of deserts of North America

In North America, deserts and semideserts are located in the west of the mainland in the zones of moderate and subtropical belts.

Four large groups of deserts stand out here, combining several small. The deserts that are part of the large pool are located in the north. In the south of it is the desert of Mohava, followed by the Sonor desert followed south. On the border with Mexico is the Chiuaua desert. Separately, the Oviha desert should be mentioned, which is located in the south of the South Kolumbian plateau, since it is the third largest desert of the North American continent.

Deserts in North America have a total length from north to south of about 2.5 thousand km. The territory of Nevada, Utah and part of the state of Weiming is almost a completely deserted area. The southern part of California is occupied by deserts that are limited from the east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If you follow the south further, you can see how the desert areas stretch along the plain of Sonor (Arizona Studge), along the river called Yaki and further along the coast of the north of Lower California along the mountain ranges. Deserts end in this area on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The uniqueness of the deserts of this continent consists in the formation of margins made of fragmentary material. The plateau here alternates with the hollows between the mountains, which contributes to a quick change in the species of deserts, as well as semideserts. This is the distinctive feature of the desert zone of North America.

North America desert map


Since the deserts are located in several climatic zones, the climate in them is formed due to the action of air masses dominating these areas. They are characterized by a sharp difference in daily and annual temperature values. Therefore, the North American deserts are divided into two types:

  • Cold: they include the northern deserts of the large pool, where significant heights and winter precipitation (mainly snowy) prevail;
  • hot, located in subtropics. These are the deserts of Mohava with their winter precipitation, Chiuaua with a predominance of summer rains and Sonor precipitation is yearround here.
  • The climate of these deserts can be described as warm and dry. The air here has very low humidity and passes a significant part of solar radiation. Sharp fluctuations between day and night temperatures are characteristic.

    The deserts of North America are characterized by constant strong winds, which are the causes of dusty storms and even tornadoes. These phenomena are usually caused by convective air flows that arise due to its strong heating.


    The relief is formed mainly by water erosion. Todokoks for the most part temporary, formed by rain flows. However, there is a permanent waterpolis of the Colorado River, passing through the desert areas of Sonora and Mohava.

    The soil

    Soils of deserts, as well as semi-deserts, light chestnut, gray or brown, containing many salts, gypsum or gravelly interspersed and extremely few fertile layer-humus.

    North America desert plants

    Since the characteristic features of the deserts of North America are a hot climate and moisture deficiency, the plants here look and exist different. The evaporation of water here often prevails over its loss. However, local plants in the process of development learned to extract and accumulate it. Thanks to daily temperature jumps at night, sand and rocky rocks condensate moisture from the atmosphere and stock up near the surface layer. This water nourishes plants with a surface root system. Those plants in which long core roots are able to get to deep groundwater.

    But this water is still not enough, therefore, during evolution, desert plants have learned to minimize the surface evaporation of moisture. Their leaves became very small, modified to the thorns. Some leaves do not have at all.

    Brushspecies and succulents prevail in subtropical deserts. There are many types of cacti in North America. They stock up water in their fleshy stems, and their surface is covered with thorns, which gives protection not only from excessive evaporation of moisture, but also from animal encroachments. Such plants include huge cacti-verse ceremos growing up to 20 meters. There are cacti of spherical shape: they are not so high, but they reach 2.5 meters in width.

    Cactus Cereus

    Also in the deserts and semideserts of the subtropics are widespread Yucca, acacia, agava, creosot bush and other species.




    Creesot bush

    In the northern deserts of temperate latitudes, cereal plants, threetoothed wormwood, hodgepodge are common: thickfaceted swan, teresken wool, sebaceous tree. The latter is an endemic view for these areas.

    Animal deserts of North America

    In the territories of deserts, mostly animals live that can quickly move. This ability is associated with their constant searching for scarce water and sparse vegetable foods. To find a place for a watering, sometimes it is necessary to overcome multikilometer distances. Also, the ability to quickly move is needed in the absence of shelters that protect against predatory animals.

    Insects living in deserts are represented by desert locusts, black beetles, ants, butterflies, aphids, yukkova moths, sandy Oshoy Ammafil. Different types of arachnids, for example, toxic tarantulas also live here.

    Desert soot

    Black beetle

    Sandshaped waspaphile


    Reptiles living in the territory of desert areas are represented by lizards, snakes and turtles. The first includes desert iguan, a zebra-tailed lizard, a jabber lizard, the Arizon and Mexican nucleusobes and several types of bugns lizards. A distinctive feature of most desert lizards is the ability to quickly and reliably dig into the sand in case of danger. The royal snake and poisonous snakes are also found here: Texas and Green.

    Desert iguana

    Zebrokhny lizard

    Azboid lizard

    Mexican nucleusob

    Royal snake

    Small and large mammals in the North American deserts are quite widely represented. The most characteristic of the desert regions of North America are antelopian gophers, hamsters, bags. Vilorog is a picture of a roe deer, endemic of deserted lands of the North American continent. In the past, before taking measures to protect it, it was practically exterminated. Bright representative of the predatory family Puma. These places are also inhabited by such predators as Skuns, Fox, Coyot, Wolf. Among birds can be distinguished by an owl-elf and a California cuckoo.




    California earthen cuckoo

    Deserts are not very populated by people, thanks to which nature is unique here. This was the reason to organize national parks and reserves in the territories of some deserts. However, the problem of increasing the areas of deserted lands was and remains global. For the most part, human activity near deserts and semideserts is involved in this. They try to solve this problem by digging channels and landscaping border with zones deserts. But soil exhausted by erosion are recovering extremely slowly, and degraded with noticeable constancy.

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