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Largest Deserts in the World
Area (sq km)
Area (sq mi)
North Africa (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco,Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara)
Western Asia (Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)
Central Asia (Mongolia)
Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa)
Great Victoria Desert
South America (Argentina and Chile)
Western Asia (Iraq, Jordan, and Syria)
Great Basin Desert
North America (Mexico and United States)
Great Sandy Desert
North America (Mexico and United States)
Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)
South Asia (India, Pakistan)
South America (Chile and Peru)
Southern Africa (Angola and Namibia)
About Deserts in the World
Deserts are areas that receive little precipitation, classified as an area that receives less that 250 millimeters (10 inches) of annual precipitation on average.
The classification also takes into account the potential evapotranspiration, or the amount of water that could be evaporated in the region. Because of the lack of precipitation, deserts are often dry and barren in landscape, and commonly thought of as having hot climates. However, deserts can be hot or cold, and they exist in regions all across the world. The largest two deserts on Earth are both cold deserts, which are covered in ice and snow.
About Polar Deserts
The largest deserts in the world are polar deserts: the Antarctic Desert and the Arctic Desert. The Antarctic Desert covers an area of 13,829,430 square kilometers over the South Pole. Antarctica is the most extreme continent on Earth, as the coldest, driest and windiest place in the world ,and the highest elevation. The Arctic Desert is the northernmost region of the Earth, covering the North Pole over 12,726,937 square kilometers. The Arctic Desert is partially located in the United States, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia.
The third largest desert in the world, and the largest non-polar desert is the Sahara. Situated in North Africa, the Sahara makes up parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. The Sahara Desert spans over 9,400,000 square kilometers across the continent, and is the world's hottest desert.
The Arabian Desert is the fourth largest desert in the world, with an area of about 2,330,000 square kilometers. The Arabian Desert is situated on the Arabian peninsula, and makes up parts of Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Both the Sahara and Arabian Deserts are known for their sand and sand dunes, which are typical images of desert landscapes.
The fifth largest desert on Earth is Asia's Gobi Desert. Situated in northwestern China and southern Mongolia, the Gobi Desert was created as a rain shadow from the tall Himalayan Mountains, which prevent rain from reaching Gobi.
The Kalahari Desert is a subtropical desert in southern Africa, covering 900,000 square kilometers in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The Kalahari Desert ranks sixth in terms of largest deserts by area in the world.
South America's Patagonian Desert is the seventh largest desert, at 670,000 square kilometers. The Patagonian Desert is located in Argentina and Chile, between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Great Victoria Desert is next on the list, ranking eighth. The Great Victoria Desert spans about 647,000 square kilometers of Australia.
The Syrian Desert has an area of about 520,000 square kilometers, and is situated in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria.
The Great Basin Desert in the United States is the tenth largest desert in the world, covering an area of 492,000 square kilometers.
Top Ten Largest Deserts Images
Antarctica is a desert which has recorded an annual precipitation of only 200mm along the coast and the far less inland. It has no indigenous population.
The As a cold desert, the Arctic Desert receives very little rain or snow. It serves as a habitat for organisms living in the ice, like zooplankton and phytoplankton.
As the largest hot desert in the world, Sahara Desert consists of rocky Hamada and ergs. Highest peak in the Sahara Desert is Emi Koussi.
Located in Western Asia, Arabian Desert is a vast desert stretching from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq.
As part of the Great Mongol Empire, the Gobi is a rain shadow desert. It is a cold desert and serves as the source of critical fossil finds, like dinosaur eggs.
Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savanna in southern Africa. It is home to a wide variety of migratory birds and animals.
As the largest desert in Argentina, Patagonian is a cold winter desert. Volcanic rocks cover more than 120,000 sq. km of this desert.
An interim Australian bioregion, the Great Victoria Desert is a sparsely populated desert area in Western Australia and South Australia.
Syrian Desert is a combination of steppe and true desert, located in the northern Arabian Peninsula. Moreover, it is a pretty rocky and flat desert.
Great Basin Desert is one of the four biologically defined deserts in North America. It has a variable weather on any given day.