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For ither uises, see Sahara (disambiguation).
Sahara (الصحراء الكبرى)
The Great Desert
A satellite image o the Sahara bi NASA Warld Wind.
Kintras Algerie, Chad, Egyp, Eritrea, Libie, Mali, Mauritanie, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisie, Wastren Sahara
Highest point Emi Koussi 11,204 ft (3,415 m)
 - coordinates 19°47′36″N 18°33′6″E / 19.79333°N 18.55167°E / 19.79333; 18.55167
Lowest point Qattara Depression −436 ft (−133 m)
 - coordinates 30°0′0″N 27°5′0″E / 30.00000°N 27.08333°E / 30.00000; 27.08333
Length 4,800 km (2,983 mi), E/W
Width 1,800 km (1,118 mi), N/S
Aurie 9,400,000 km2 (3,629,360 sq mi)
Biome Desert

The Sahara (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى‎, aṣ-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Kubrā , 'the Greatest Desert') is the warld's hettest desert, the third lairgest desert efter Antarcticae an the Arctic.[1] At ower 9,400,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi), it covers maist o North Africae, makin it almaist as lairge as Cheenae or the Unitit States. The Sahara stretches frae the Reid Sea, includin pairts o the Mediterranean coasts, tae the ootskirts o the Atlantic Ocean. Tae the sooth, it is deleemited bi the Sahel, a belt o semi-arid tropical savanna that composes the northren region o central an wastren Sub-Saharan Africae.

Some o the sand dunes can reach 180 metres (590 ft) in heicht.[2] The name comes frae the plural Arabic leid wird for desert, (صحارى ṣaḥārā [3][4] [ˈsˤɑħɑ:rɑ:];[5][6]

Flora an fauna[eedit | eedit soorce]

Dromedar camels an goats are the domesticated ainimals maist commonly foond in the Sahara. Acause o its qualities o endurance an speed, the dromedary is the favorite ainimal uised bi nomads.

The daithstalker scorpion can be 10 cm (3.9 in) lang. Its venom contains lairge amoonts o agitoxin an scyllatoxin an is very dangerous; however, a sting frae this scorpion rarely kills a healthy adult.

Camels in the Guelta d'Archei, in north-eastren Chad.

Several species o fox live in the Sahara, includin the fennec fox, pale fox an Rüppell's fox. The addax, a lairge white antelope, can go nearly a year in the desert withoot drinkin. The dorcas gazelle is a north African gazelle that can also gang for a lang time withoot watter. Ither notable gazelles include the Rhim gazelle an dama gazelle.

The Saharan cheetah (northwast African cheetah) lives in Algerie, Togo, Niger, Mali, Benin, an Burkina Faso. Thare remain less than 250 matur cheetahs which are very cautious, fleein ony human presence. The cheetah avoids the sun frae Aprile tae October, seekin the shelter of shrubs such as balanites an acacias. Thay are unuisually pale.[7][8]

An Ubari oasis lake, wi native grasses an Date palms.

Ither ainimals include the monitor lizards, hyrax, sand vipers, an smaa populations o African wild dug,[9] in perhaps anly 14 kintras.[10] an ostrich. Thare exist ither ainimals in the Sahara (birds in particular) such as African sillerbill an black-faced firefinch, amang ithers. Thare are also smaa desert crocodiles in Mauritanie an the Ennedi Plateau o Chad.[11]

The central Sahara is estimatit tae include five hundred species o plants, which is extremely law considering the huge extent o the aurie. Plants such as acacia trees, palms, succulents, spiny shrubs, an grasses hae adapted tae the arid condeetions, bi growin lawer tae avoid watter loss bi strang winds, bi storin watter in thair thick stems tae uise it in dry periods, bi havin lang ruits that travel horizontally tae reach the maximum aurie o watter an tae find ony surface moistur an bi havin smaa thick leaves or needles tae prevent watter loss bi evapo-transpiration. Plant leaves mey dry oot totally an then recover.

Human activities are mair likely tae affect the habitat in auries o permanent watter (oases) or where watter comes close tae the surface. Here, the local pressur on naitural resoorces can be intense. The remainin populations o lairge mammals hae been greatly reduced bi huntin for fuid an recreation. In recent years development projects hae stairtit in the deserts o Algerie an Tunisie uisin irrigatit watter pumped frae unnergroond aquifers. These schemes eften lead tae soil degradation an salinization.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "Largest Desert in the World". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  2. Arthur N. Strahler and Alan H. Strahler. (1987) Modern Physical Geography Third Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Page 347
  3. "Sahara." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
  4. "English-Arabic online dictionary". 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  5. Wehr, Hans (1994). A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Arabic-English) (4th ed.). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. p. 589. ISBN 0-87950-003-4. 
  6. al-Ba‘labakkī, Rūḥī (2002). al-Mawrid: Qāmūs ‘Arabī-Inklīzī (in Arabic) (16th ed.). Beirut: Dār al-‘Ilm lil-Malāyīn. p. 689. 
  7. "Rare cheetah captured on camera". BBC News. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  8. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Acinonyx jubatus ssp. hecki
  9. McNutt et al. (2008). Lycaon pictus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red Leet o Threatened Species. Retrieved 06 May 2008.
  10. Borrell, Brendan (2009-08-19). "Endangered in South Africa: Those Doggone Conservationists". Slate. 
  11. "Desert-Adapted Crocs Found in Africa", National Geographic News, June 18, 2002