The Mojave Desert of North America is one of the only four lifeless regions found in North America. It is also known as “high desert”. It is believed to be established by the Mohave Native Americans and is examined to be the smallest and the driest desert on the continent. It is home to a number of animals and living plants even though the water in that area is limited due to limited resources provided in this sector.
The Mojave Desert is a rain shadow barren desert area located in southern California and smaller parts of central California. It is also the driest North American desert. It is rectangular in shape. Great Basin desert surrounds it to the north and Sonoran desert to the south. Over 10,000 years ago, there was evidence of human life there, at the end of Pleistocene area. Earlier Mojave desert was full of lakes, streams and wetlands. There were vast vegetation and animal life in Mojave which is now replaced with large desert plains.
The Mojave Desert where diverse habitats and ascent are found therefore makes it different from other deserts. However, dwellers of the south-western desert like humans and all living things have to undergo the extreme weather conditions found in that region. The summers are terribly very hot, and winters are freezing there.
The Mojave Desert -Geography
The Mojave Desert includes Utah, Arizona, Nevada and southwestern California. It includes 25000 SQ Miles of land. The Mojave valleys are underlined by enormous mountain ranges such as the white, spring and sheep ranges. These mountains act as islands in the desert that tremendously increase the biological diversification with the Mojave Desert. Some remains are left behind from a beautiful cooler and humid climate before 10,000 years ago.
- San Gabriel Mountains borders the Mojave Desert. This region includes arid mountain ranges, sandy plains, dried up beds and low-lying valleys.
- A river flows through this desert area and this helps in growing vegetation in this region. Thus, water supplied to the dried land.
- Kelso sand dunes the most famous and mysterious sand dunes are also found in this region. It composes of rose quartz particles and fine-grained sand this way giving a rosy/ pinkish tint to the sand dunes.
- Many geologists are still searching over the composition of the Kelso sand dunes. Also if we visit this place, a loud roaring sound is heard.
The Mojave Desert- Climate
The climate became sultry, drier hence all the lakes dried up and streams shrunk and flowed back. Deserted ground water fed springs are left with the regional species found nowhere else in the world. The Mojave Desert is very hot in the summers and very cold in the winters. The residents there have to bear extreme temperatures. It receives very less rain nearly about 12 cms (5 inches )of rain and snow every year. Desert animals cannot survive in the Mojave Desert because of so less rain. When it rains, the water runs off the bajadas collects in low places like this desert Playa and washes like Arroyos.
Though water is deficient, there are temporary rock pools, rivers, washes, desert plants held water and even the ground is an incredible water source in many areas. There are many different kinds of deserts. Hot deserts like Sahara desert of Northern Africa and Cold desert like Antarctica. The Mojave is a hot/cold desert. It is often very cold in winters and very Hot in the summers. Flora and fauna have to exist through both kinds of temperature whether excessive hot or cold.
The Mojave Desert became barren as vast mountain ranges such as the Sierra Nevada formed thousand years ago, giving a rain show effect. The western side of the Sierra Nevada mountains is moist because of the less rain in the region contrary to the dry Mojave.
The highest peak of the desert is located at over 11,000 feet, and many valleys are located below sea level. Varied weather conditions are felt in this region.
- The temperature reaches up to 120 degrees in summers.
- Often it is seen that in winters the temperature get lowers down below freezing point. Even snow is common during the winter season.
- In spring season the vegetation is beautiful. Windy conditions are prominent in this region.
- Winds come from southern California.
- Autumn is a most pleasant season of this region.
- The temperature varies from 70- 90 degrees during the day with very fewer chances of a thunderstorm.
- Tourism is observed to be most in this season.
Mojave Desert – Vegetation
The vegetation in Mojave is mainly of shrubs. Vegetation in the Mojave Desert is similar to Great Basin desert in the northern half and Sonoran desert in the Southern half of the region. Endemics are the plants left in Mojave. The other flora includes Joshua Tree, parry saltbush and Mojave sage. A Creosote Bush occupies the larger part of the Desert along with white burnsage.
The Exclusive Fauna of the Desert
The variety of animals found in this desert is diverse. They can survive the severe climates. Let’s read about the animals spotted in the desert:
- Red Tailed Hawk
- Desert Tortoise
- Diamondback Rattlesnakes
The Exclusive Flora of the Desert
Who said it ‘s hard to see flowers in the desert, should explore this desert to prove this statement wrong. There are many types of plants blooming in the desert breaking the monotony of sand dunes.
The plants found there are:
- Fan Palm
- Desert Marigold
- Joshua Tree
The Role Plants and Animals of the Mojave Desert Play :
The plants and animals are resilient and adaptable in nature. Each plays important role in ecosystem. Joshua tree is an attractive plant that is seen growing in the desert. Desert gives a harsh and barren image, but the plants there try and cover up the most. Home for many Including mammals, flowers, shrubs, trees, snakes, birds.
People and Cultures of the Mojave Desert
People live and around the Mojave desert. The area includes fascinating and colourful history. The desert tribe live alongside the river. Many tribes are still living in this area. The central reservations of this area are the Colorado River Reservation and the Fort Mojave. Colorado River reservation includes members from various tribes, whereas the fort reservation includes the Mojave Indians. The culture of Mohave includes rich traditions like arts and crafts, farming, language and religion. Farming is the crucial part of Mohave history.
Though growing food is tough to grow in the dry climate. Mohave men and women work together in the fields. Men water and plant the vegetation whereas women harvest. Beaded jewellery and pottery are a crucial part of Mohave culture.Women enjoy with beaded collars. Mohave language is vanishing. Currently, only 75 members speak this mother tongue. Renewed efforts are introduced to teach and make Mohave language prevalent in this region.
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