Fact Sheet
Desert

Types of Desert Habitat

Hot and dry deserts
The hottest type of desert, with parched terrain and rapid evaporation. In the hot and dry desert soils are course-textured, shallow, rocky or gravely with good drainage and have no subsurface water. They are coarse because there is less chemical weathering. The finer dust and sand particles are blown elsewhere, leaving heavier pieces behind.

Cool coastal deserts
These deserts are located within the same latitudes as subtropical deserts, yet the average temperature is much cooler because of frigid offshore ocean current. In the coastal desert the soil is fine-textured with a moderate salt content. It is fairly porous with good drainage.

Semi arid deserts
Deserts that are marked by stark temperature differences from season to season, ranging from 100° F in the summer to 10° F in the winter. In the semi-arid deserts the soil can range from sandy and fine-textured to loose rock fragments, gravel or sand.

Polar regions are also considered to be deserts because nearly all moisture in these areas is locked up in the form of ice.

More on Desert: Desert Locations »

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