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Lecture 11

GLY 1103 Lecture 11: Deserts

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Brian Zimmer

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Deserts Cover 25 of Earths Surface Extreme Dryness can be hot or cold Specialized Ecosystem Unique geological processes Definition no permanent water, vegetation covers >15, less than 10 in of annual rainfall Geologic Features exposed bedrock, accumulated clasts, unweathered sediment, precipitated salts, windblown sand, desert varnish 5 Types Subtropical (Sahara, Arabian, Kalahari) Rainshadow (Oregon and Washington) Coastal (Alacama) Continental Interiors (Gobi) Polar (Antartica) Subtropical equator 0 degrees latitude, largest deserts 1. Solar Energy evaporates water which rises as hot, moist air 2. Rising air cools and expands, forming abundant rain 3. Moisture flows to the North and South Subtropics 2030 degrees North and South 1. Sinking air wicks water 2. Landscape below dries Rain Shadow moist ocean winds drive over mountains 1. On front side of range, air rises, expands and cools (rainforests 2. On backside, air stripped of moisture sinks (deserts) Coastal cold air over cold water hold little moisture 1. The air absorbs moisture when it interacts with land 2. Alacama Desert (Peru) is the driest place on Earth Interior Air loses moisture as it moves across continents 1. Land far from ocean can be arid Polar Above 66 degrees North and below 66 degrees South latitude with little atmospheric moisture 1. Air circulation carries dry air to polar regions 2. Its so cold the air cant hold moisture Weathering chemical weathering is diminished due to paucity of water Wind Erosion wind has different loads
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