Deserts are areas where rainfall is less than 250 mm (10 in.)/year, or whereby evaporation exceeds precipitation. Thus, deserts are areas that us think of as arid. They might be hot or cold. Castle are characterized by committed ecosystems and also low person populations. Due to the fact that of your dryness, distinctive geologic processes operate in deserts.

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Origin of Deserts

Deserts originate through several various mechanisms that an outcome in five types of deserts. Subtropical deserts Rain shadow deserts seaside deserts Continental inner deserts Polar deserts. Subtropical Deserts - the basic atmospheric circulation brings dry, subtropical air into mid-latitudes. Examples: Sahara of northern Africa, Kalahari of southerly Africa, and the an excellent Australian Desert.


Rainshadow Deserts - areas where such as mountain regions reason air come rise and also condense, dropping the moisture as it passes end the mountains. Examples: Deserts eastern of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California & Nevada, eastern of the Cascades that Oregon and also Washington, and also East the the Andes mountains in southern America.

Coastal Deserts - areas where cold upwelling seawater cools the air and also decreases its capacity to host moisture. Examples : Atacama Desert of coastal Peru, Namib Desert of seaside South Africa.

Continental inner Deserts - locations in the continent interiors, much from resource of moisture where warm summers and also cold winters prevail. Example: Gobi, Mongolia

Polar Deserts - Cold polar regions where cold dry air prevails and moisture accessible remains frozen transparent the entire year. Examples: north Greenland, and ice-free locations of Antarctica.

We will certainly concentrate ~ above the first four types of deserts, the one"s which occur in warm arid climates.

Surface procedures in Deserts

The exact same geologic processes run in deserts together in other more humid climates. The distinction is the intensity to which the processes act. Weathering and also Mass Movements

Deserts have small soil due to the fact that moisture is for this reason low and also the price of chemical weathering is slow. Recall the chemical weathering is responsible because that the development of soils Bedrock typically occurs at the surface. Exposed rock surfaces build desert varnish a dark red brown surface coating the of iron and also manganese oxides. This forms really slowly by bacterial activity, dust, and also water. little plant life develops because of absence of soils and water. Plants often tend to hold soil and fine-grained rock fragments in place so without plants, erosional processes can remove the slim desert soils. Desert soils room usually colored like the bedrock nearby. Trace elements in the soils lug out broad color variations. The desert surface is dominated by mechanically weathering processes. Rock pieces tend to be angular, quite than rounded. If us compare the surface attributes of deserts with those in humid regions, we find that: deserts are conquered by absent falls, rock slides, and also the build-up of rough circuit grained material, and also generally have steeper slopes. humid regions have actually soil and fine-grained regolith spanning slopes, v creep being the leading mass motion process, causing curved gentle slopes. Cliffs of solid absent are usual in desert regions.If the rock making up the cliff has plenty of vertical joints and they are underlain by more easily eroded rocks favor shales, erosion and mechanical weathering will eventually reason rock falls. This outcomes in cliff retreat. If the cliff forming rocks have actually horizontal bedding planes, continued cliff retreat and stream erosion eventually form flat-tipped hills referred to as mesas (mesa is Spanish because that table) with areas of number of square kilometers. Little flat topped hills that come to be isolated native the mesas are referred to as buttes, like are seen in Monument Valley, Arizona.Smaller examples, whereby the elevation of the feature exceeds their peak surface are dubbed chimneys, favor are viewed in Bryce Canyon, Utah. If the cliff creating rocks have actually bedding planes the dip, then an asymmetrical ridge, dubbed a cuesta will form. The steep cliff forms on one side and also a tenderness slope parallel come the bedding planes creates on the other side. This gentle slope is described as dip slope, because it is has actually the same angle together the dip of the bedding planes. (See number 21.19a in her text).

Streams and Fluvial Landforms surface waters space rare in deserts. Streams that do circulation usually originate at greater elevations and supply enough water because that the stream to pass with the desert an ar without evaporating. Streams in deserts tend to it is in ephemeral, the is they circulation only during rains. Because that this reason, speed floods and also braided stream networks are common. Because flash floods deserve to have substantial discharge, rapid erosion have the right to occur throughout these rare events. (Note that great photos of these functions can be uncovered in her textbook and also will be shown in lecture).

Alluvial Fans and also Bajadas - an alluvial fan develops where a hill stream start a broad flat valley and deposits sediment as its velocity to reduce on entering the flatter valley. When a direct mountain selection has several carefully spaced valleys, the alluvial fans might coalesce to form a gentle undulated slope on the political parties of the bounding lowlands. Such coalesced alluvial pan are known as Bajadas
. Pediments - A pediment is broad bedrock surface ar with a gentle slope away from highlands. Through distance far from the highlands the pediment passes beneath a thin cover the alluvial sediment derived from erosion of the pediment. The highlands remain as residual hills as the pediment matures. Playa Lakes - Standing body of water prefer lakes space rare in desert regions because rainfall and input native streams occurs just intermittently. Lakes that do form during the rare durations of rainfall, quickly evaporate, leave a dried lake bed behind. Playa Lakes (also referred to as dry lakes) are created in containers of inner drainage. The lake beds regularly consist of salts (evaporites) the were carried in by streams and also precipitated during evaporation. This precipitated salts offer the dry lake bed a white color resembling a coast (playa method beach in Spanish).

Wind Erosion and also Deposition

Wind is common in arid desert areas because:

Air near the surface ar is heated and rises, cooler air comes in come replace warm rising air and this motion of air outcomes in winds. Arid regions have little or no floor moisture to host rock and also mineral fragments.

Wind has the capability to transport, erode, and also deposit sediment.

Sediment transportation by Wind - Wind transports sediment near the surface by saltation. Simply as in the bed fill of streams, saltation refers to short jumps of grains dislodged indigenous the surface and also jumping a brief distance. As the seed fall ago to the surface they might dislodge other grains that then get brought by wind until they collide through ground to dislodge other particles. Smaller sized particles can come to be suspended in the wind and may travel for much longer distances.
together cross-bedded shop are often preserved in sandstones, such together the Navajo Sandstone in Zion national Park, Utah (see figure 21.22d in your text).
Dunes may cover large areas and also reach heights up to 500m. species of sand dunes

Barchan Dunes - room crescent-shaped dunes v the point out of the crescents pointing in the downwind direction, and a bent slip face on the downwind side of the dune. They type in locations where there is a tough ground surface, a moderate supply of sand, and a consistent wind direction.

Transverse Dunes - are large fields of dunes the resemble sand ripples on a large scale. Castle consist the ridges of sand with a steep face in the downwind side, and type in locations where over there is abundant supply of sand and also a consistent wind direction. Barchan dunes merge right into transverse dunes if the supply of sand increases.

Longitudinal Dunes (also referred to as Sief Dunes) - are lengthy straight dunes that form in locations with a minimal sand supply and converging wind directions.

Parabolic (also referred to as blowout) Dunes - room "U" shaped dunes v an open end facing upwind. They room usually stabilized by vegetation, and also occur whereby there is plentiful vegetation, a consistent wind direction, and an plentiful sand supply. They are usual in coastal areas.

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Star Dunes - space dunes with numerous arms and variable slip challenge directions that form in locations where over there is numerous sand and variable wind directions.

Wind swollen Dust - Dust is composed of silt and also clay sized particles that are often packed in addition to smooth surface. Such packed dust is daunting to remove by wind erosion alone, uneven the surface is really dry or is disturbed. When dust that is disturbed, dust storms may develop, and also dust might be transported by the wind over large distances. Most soil has some silt and clay corpuscle deposited by the wind.

A large deposits that wind deposited dust is dubbed loess. Lot loess was obtained from debris left by glacial erosion and also winds blowing across desert region s..

Dust in s Sediments. - Dust deserve to be transported through the wind and also by ~ above the surface of the oceans. Much of this wind puffy dust originates in deserts. As a result, much of the fine grained continent-derived sediment that reaches the abyssal plains of the seas was initially transported through winds.


Desertification occurs together a an outcome of climatic changes, together as changing positions the the continents, transforms in ocean and air circulation patterns. The latter have the right to be propelled by alters in an international temperature that take place naturally or as the result of human being activities. Human being impacts, such together overgrazing, overpopulation, draining the land, and lowering of the groundwater table, can likewise contribute come desertification. As vegetation die out, the soil is much more easily eroded and may be lost so that various other vegetation i do not care destabilized. Since soil have the right to hold moisture, if the soil erodes, the area may become arid, and also the desert expands. Quick term desertification took ar on the good plains that the U.S. Beginning in 1933 and lasting for number of years. It was initiated by drought conditions that resulted from unexplained weather patterns, yet was exacerbated by overpopulation and plowing of the floor which gotten rid of grasses the would usually hold the floor in place. Once the floor dried out, winds whipping throughout the area created giant dust storms form which the period got its surname - the an excellent Dust Bowl. It resulted in famine and also economic hardship for citizens of the area, most of whom migrated out of the area. Back the area has actually recovered, this illustration of background shows exactly how even short term alters in weather patterns and also human interference through the land have the right to lead to drastic consequences. Lengthy term desertification is likewise taking place in other parts that the world. In particular, south of the Sahara desert in Africa, the Sahel, is a semi-arid grass land that has actually been subject to overpopulation, overuse of water resources, extensive agriculture, and also overgrazing during the past 60 years. The result has been desertification and also resulting mass famine of the person occupants of the land.

instances of questions on this product that could be inquiry on an exam.

What is a desert and also what room the 5 types of deserts that occur on Earth? What are the complying with desert landforms (a) mesa, (b) butte, (c) chimney, (d) cuesta, (e) alluvial fans, (f) bajadas, (g) inselbergs. define the following (a) desert varnish, (b) deflation (c) desert pavement, (d) playa lake, (e) ventifact, (f) yardang, (g) loess exactly how do mass movement processes different in deserts and more humid areas and what result do these distinctions have ~ above the landscape of the areas? What the 5 species of sand dunes and what are the conditions necessary to kind each? define how sand dunes have the right to migrate throughout the surface. What natural and also anthropogenic (human induced) components can an outcome in desertification.

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