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The Sahara Desert Ecoregion

April 22nd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Sahara Desert - April 16th, 2009

Sahara Desert - April 16th, 2009

The Sahara Desert is comprised of several distinct ecoregions, whose variations in temperature, rainfall, elevation, and soils harbor distinct communities of plants and animals.

The ecoregion visible here is known simply as Sahara desert: this region covers the hyper-arid central portion of the Sahara where rainfall is minimal and sporadic.

Here, parts of Algeria (above), Mali (bottom right) and Mauritania (bottom center), as well as some of Morocco and Western Sahara (upper left) can be observed.

However, the entire ecoregion covers 4,639,900 square kilometers (1,791,500 square miles) of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Sudan.

Vegetation is rare, and this ecoregion consists mostly of sand dunes (erg, chech, raoui), stone plateaus (hamadas), gravel plains (reg), dry valleys (wadis), and salt flats.

This image focuses on the El Eglab Massif, identifiable as the brown area near the center, and two ergs. The first, Erg Iguidi, is situated above the massif. It is mostly located in Algeria, extending into Mauritania. The second, Erg Chech, is below the massif. This sea of dunes is mostly located in Algeria, extending into Mali.

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