Mojave Desert Facts: Details Revealed On 'The Death Valley' | Kidadl


Mojave Desert Facts: Details Revealed On 'The Death Valley'

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The Mojave Desert is unlike any other desert.

The Death Valley, or the Mojave Desert, witnesses extreme temperatures. It is not only the driest but also the smallest of all the deserts in North America, spanning across an area of about 48,000 sq mi (124,319 sq km).

This North American desert is named after the Native Mohave American people. And despite the harsh conditions, this desert is home to over 2,000 species of plants and over 600 species of animals, including the iconic Joshua Tree and the red-tailed hawk. Other animals on this land include the black-tailed jackrabbit, cougar, coyote, desert bighorn sheep, desert kangaroo rat, and desert tortoise.

There are many points of interest and national parks in this part of southern California. The ghost town attracts tourists from across North America. Though it is also called the Death Valley, the Mojave Desert is a well-recognized hiking and camping destination. This desert stands in the rain shadow area of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Read on to discover amazing Mojave Desert facts.

Location Of The Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert is known as a great destination for camping and hiking, and it attracts nature lovers from all over. If you're planning a weekend in the desert, here are a few facts you should know first.

The Mojave Desert is spread across approximately 43,750 sq mi (113,312 sq km). It is considered the driest and smallest North American desert. You can get to the Mojave Desert by driving down Interstate 15 or Route 66 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You can also rent an RV for your stay in the Mojave Desert. Temperatures in the Mojave Desert can range between extremes. It is the hottest place in the world. The best time to visit this rain shadow desert is between March and June, or during the month of October.

This desert is bounded by the California Montane Chaparral, the Sierra Nevada and Woodlands in the west, and the Arizona Mountain Forests and the Colorado Plateau in the east. Much of the Mojave extends to the Sonoran desert. Palm Springs is part of the Sonoran Desert in the north. The Mojave Desert takes up 20 million acres (8 hectares) which is one-fifth of California.

On the globe, this desert area lies between latitudes of 34-38 N. It is a high desert. The elevation of the Mojave Desert ranges from 282 ft (86 m) below sea level to 0.9 mi (1,600 m) above sea level. This is a higher range than any of the other North American deserts. It is believed that in the Paleozoic Era, this desert lay below sea level.

Various parts of the desert are protected to preserve the region's flora and fauna. The most notable national parks among these are Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park. Part of the Grand Canyon National Park falls into the Mojave Desert.

Area And Rivers Surrounding The Mojave Desert

There are numerous attractive features in the Mojave desert that make this an important tourist location. Here are some facts worth noting.

The Mojave Desert is considered a transition zone between the Great Basin and the Sonoran Desert. One can get lost in the Mojave Desert. In fact, the death valley got its name when a group of early explorers lost their way in the area.

The Mojave River is 111 mi (180 km) long and flows through the San Berandino Mountains to Soda Lake. Most of the river flows underground, and though the surface channels stay dry for most of the year, they are prone to flooding. The Colorado River is another important water body in the region. The land around the river is being developed for agriculture.

There are three California State Parks in the Mojave Desert. These are Saddleback Butte State Park, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and Red Rock Canyon State Park. There are many places to stay in these state parks.

Plant And Animal Species Of The Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert may seem vast and empty, but it is teeming with life in myriad forms. The Joshua Tree is the most well-known. Here are a few other facts you should know.

The Mohave Desert has more endemic flora than any other place in the world. There are many distinct floral communities in the desert. Many of the plants correspond to geographical features. Some of the other predominant plants in this part of southern Nevada are brittlebush, desert holly, creosote bush, and white burro bush. There are many winter annual plants. In parts where there are no distinctive geographical borders, the desert flora helps determine the desert extent.

There are over 23 different types of cacti in the Mojave Desert. Some of the well-known cacti types found here include the Mojave prickly pear, silver cholla, many-headed barrel cactus, and beavertail cactus. The Joshua Tree is the most notable endemic plant species in the desert. It flowers between February and April. These plants are fast growers that can grow as high as 49 ft (15 m) tall and are usually propagated through the root rhizome network.

There are fewer endemic fauna species in the Mojave Desert as compared to endemic flora. Some of the common endemic fauna species include the Kelso Dunes Jerusalem cricket, Mojave ground squirrel, Amargosa vole, and the Kelso Dunes shieldback katydid.

The Mojave Fringe-toed lizard is not endemic to the desert but is rarely found outside the region. Other animals found in the Mojave Desert are the banded gecko, desert iguana, and regal horned lizard. The desert tortoise is another popular animal found here. There are many types of snakes found in the desert, including the Mojave rattlesnake, the desert rosy boa, and the Mojave patchnose snake.

The underground rivers in the Mojave Desert support lush oases with aquatic life that isn't found elsewhere.

There are almost two dozen types of cacti in the Mojave Desert.

Soil Type And Population Of The Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert is sparsely populated, but it is slowly being urbanized. Here are a few facts about the soil of this area and the people who live here.

This part of southeastern California has sparse vegetation and the typical rough terrain of deserts. It features gravel and sand basins that drain into the desert's central salt flats. This driest desert in America was named after the indigenous Mojave people, who speak a native language with the same name.

In addition to gold, silver, and iron deposits have been discovered in the Mojave Desert. In addition, many minerals like potash, borax, and salt have been extracted from the desert soil. This led to the evolution of mining towns, which unfortunately were later abandoned. There is more than one silver and gold mining town that became a ghost town. The Calico Ghost Town was once a silver mining town.

Las Vegas is the largest urban metropolitan area in the Mojave Desert. It has a population of over 2.3 million. St. George, Utah is situated at the meeting point of the Great Basin, the Mojave Desert, and the Colorado Plateau. As of 2020, the city had a population of approximately 180,000. Other notable metropolitan cities in the region are Lake Havasu City, Helendale, Bullhead City, Pahrump, and Laughlin.

Apart from valuable metals and minerals, the Californian section of the desert is also noted for experimental weapons and aviation projects at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Edwards Air Force Base.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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