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Gran Desierto de Altar Near Gulf of California, Mexico

31.9N 114.2W

March 23rd, 2013 Category: Deserts

USA and Mexico – March 22nd, 2013

Arid landscapes are very sensitive to climate change and surface transformations. Here, one such arid area is the Gran Desierto de Altar, one of the major portions of the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, including the only active erg dune region in North America. It extends across much of the northern border of the Gulf of California, reaching more than 100 kilometers east to west, and over 50 km north to south, and constitutes the largest continuous wilderness area within the Sonoran Desert.

Water in Lakes Dora and Disappointment, Australia

22S 122.9E

March 15th, 2013 Category: Deserts, Lakes

Australia – March 4th, 2013

Lake Dora (above) and Lake Disappointment (below) are two salt lakes in Western Australia that are often quite dry, only filling when there is extensive rainfall. Here, both lakes show the presence of water after heavy rains from Tropical Cyclone Rusty (17S) in late February and early March.

Lake Dora lies between the vegetated sand fields of the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts, and occasionally receives water via the Rudall River. Lake Disappointment an ephemeral salt lake that typically remains dry except during very wet periods such as the 1900 floods and in many recent tropical wet seasons since 1967. It is at the northern side of the Little Sandy Desert and is also partially surrounded by sand dunes.

Dust from Rub al’Khali Desert Over the Persian Gulf – March 15th, 2013

23.8N 52.0E

March 15th, 2013 Category: Deserts, Dust Storms, Image of the day

Persian Gulf – March 6, 2013

Dust blows northward off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and over the Persian Gulf. The plume appears to originate in the Rub al’Khali, a sandy desert in the southern part of the peninsula, and blow northwards across southeastern Saudi Arabia, then eastwards, east of Qatar and along the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Snow and White Sands, USA

32.7N 106.3W

February 21st, 2013 Category: Deserts, Mountains

USA – January 22nd, 2013

White snowfall rests on the terrain of the western United States of America, sitting atop mountain peaks and over the valleys in between. Another white area is visible in the lower right quadrant; however, this is due to the color of the White Sands National Monumento rather than the snow to the north. The monument  consists of the southern part of a 710-km² (275-mi²) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals in the state of New Mexico.

The “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula

20.4N 45.7E

February 20th, 2013 Category: Deserts

Saudi Arabia – February 19th, 2013

The Rub’ al Khali or Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The desert covers some 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi).

The desert is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long, and 500 kilometres (310 mi) wide. Its surface elevation varies from 800 metres (2,600 ft) in the southwest to around sea level in the northeast. The terrain is covered with sand dunes with heights up to 250 metres (820 ft), interspersed with gravel and gypsum plains.

The sand is a usually reddish-orange color in some areas due to the presence of feldspar. However, here, its sands appear bright whitish tan in color here due to the infrared bands of the sensor used to capture the image. There are also brackish salt flats in some areas, such as the Umm al Samim area on the desert’s eastern edge.

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