Top 10 Largest Deserts

By | March 2, 2023

Most people will think of a desert as a large dry sand plain, such as the Sahara. However, desert is defined as an area with less than 200 mm of precipitation per year, which means that there is relatively little fauna. The Sand Desert is only one of the five types of deserts, furthermore there are: rock deserts, gravel deserts, salt deserts and ice deserts. Check globalsciencellc for list of top 10 highest mountains in Spain.

10. Great Basin Desert

The Great Basin Desert is the largest desert in the United States. It covers an area of ​​492,000 square kilometers. To the west lies the famous Sierra Nevada Range and to the east the equally famous Rocky Mountains. Furthermore, the desert is bordered by the Columbia Plateau (in the north) and two other deserts (in the south), namely the Mojave and the Sonoran desert. Typical for this desert (compared to the surrounding deserts) is that it does not contain creosote bushes. After all, it is a so-called ‘scrub desert’, where little or no rain falls.

9. Syro-Arabian Desert

This desert is also referred to as the ‘Syrian Desert’ for short. It is a combination of steppe and desert in the North Arabian Peninsula. The desert is almost 520,000 square kilometers in size, of which more than 500,000 square kilometers run across Syrian territory. The stony and flat area is essentially part of the Al-Hamad, which includes parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Historically, its oases are inhabited by the Bedouin.

8. Great Victoria Desert

With an area of ​​647,000 square kilometers, the Great Victoria Desert is Australia’s largest desert. It consists of many small sand hills, some grasslands, highly concentrated gravel plains and salt lakes. The desert takes its name from the British explorer Ernest Giles. In 1875 he was the first European ever to cross the plain. He named his discovery after the then British Queen Victoria.

7. Patagonian Desert

This is the largest desert in Argentina. It is also called the ‘Patagonia Desert’ or ‘Patagonian Steppe’. The desert covers an area of ​​673,000 square kilometers, mostly by Argentina, but also partly by Chile. To the west, the vast plain is bordered by the Andes Mountains and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Typographically, the desert consists of table landscapes interspersed with massive mountain groups and interspersed with river valleys and deep gorges. The western parts of the steppe are home to glacial lakes and slowly slide into barren mountain regions or icy forests. Since the arrival of all kinds of migrants in the 19th century, the desert has been relatively heavily inhabited, slowly lifting it out of its isolation. The land is now mainly used for keeping cattle, sheep and horses.

6. Kalahari

The Kalahari Desert is a large, semi-arid, sandy savanna. Its area of ​​900,000 square kilometers runs through South Africa, particularly in parts of Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. At the same time, the desert also covers a large part of Botswana. The Kalahari is actually a semi-desert. Extensive areas of grassland run through it. These are perfect for grazing after a decent rainfall. That is why the Kalahari contains a more extensive fauna and flora than a ‘real’ desert. It offers shelter to a multitude of migratory birds and animals. Historically, it was even home to some extraordinary wildlife with everything from elephants to giraffes, lions and cheetahs. Today, however, mostly farm cattle graze near the riverbeds of the Kalahari. Fences control the range of the wilder animals.

5. Goby

The Gobi is an Asian desert region of 1,300,000 square kilometers. It covers parts of northern and northwest China and southern Mongolia. To the north, the Gobi Desert borders the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia. To the southwest, the surface borders the Hexi Corridor and the Tibetan Plateau; southeast on the North China Plain. Historically, the Gobi has been part of the great Mongol Empire . The desert is also known for the Silk Road that runs through it and along which many important (trade) cities are located.

4. Great Arabian Desert

The Arabian Desert is located in Western Asia. This 2,330,000 square kilometers of wasteland stretches between Yemen and the Persian Gulf and from Oman to Jordan and Iraq. It covers most of the Arabian Peninsula. In the center of the Arabian Desert lies the Rub’al-Khali. It is the largest unbroken expanse of sand in the world. A wide variety of desert animals such as gazelles, antelopes, sand cats and lizards live here. They manage to survive in the extremely dry desert conditions, with soils full of red dunes and deadly quicksands, subject to enormous temperature swings between daily heat and nightly freezing.

3. Sahara


Few deserts are more famous than the Sahara, which for many will be the most prototypical desert in the world. The name therefore comes from the Arabic plural for ‘desert’ and means as much as ‘The Great Desert’. The Sahara is also the hottest desert in the world . In addition, with an area of ​​9,400,000 square kilometers, it covers most of North Africa and is almost the size of China or the United States. The huge area stretches from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and runs through twelve different countries. To the south, the desert is bordered by the Sahel.

2. Arctic (North Pole)

Arctic (North Pole)

The Arctic or North Pole is the area north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33′ north latitude). As such, it is also the northernmost point of our planet. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, the United States (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The Arctic Desert consists of a huge expanse of ice (a frozen ocean) surrounded by permafrost, where it is simply too cold for any plant growth. It has an area of ​​13,726,937 square kilometers.

1. Antarctica (South Pole)

Antarctica (South Pole)

No desert on Earth is larger than the 13,829,430 square kilometers of ice known as Antarctica, which also contains our planet’s South Pole. The plain is located south of the Antarctic Circle and is surrounded by the Antarctic Ocean. Except at the northernmost extremities, the area is almost completely covered with miles of ice. Other vegetation is limited to tundra and only organisms that have managed to adapt to the extreme cold survive: algae, bacteria, fungi and certain animals such as whales, penguins and seals. However, human settlement is limited to annual research delegations.