Asia’s largest desert area, the Gobi desert is spread across Southern Mongolia and Northwestern China, covering a total area of 1,295,000 square kilometers (500,000 square miles). The term Gobi has been derived from a Mongolian word which means ‘very large and dry’. It is also known as ‘sha-mo’ (sand desert) and ‘han-hal’ (dry sea) in Chinese. The Gobi is the fifth largest desert in the world in the terms of total area and covers different ecological and geographic regions on the basis of variations in climate and topography. The desert basins of the Gobi have been bounded by Atlai Mountains and grasslands and steppes of Mongolia in the north, North China Plain in the southeast and the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau in the southwest. Read on further for more interesting facts and amazing information on the Gobi desert.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Gobi Desert
- The Gobi desert runs for a distance of 932 miles from southwest to northeast and 497 miles from north to south.
- One lesser known fact about Gobi desert is that it has been divided into five distinct eco-regions, namely, the Eastern Gobi desert steppe, the Alashan Plateau semi-desert, the Gobi Lakes Valley desert steppe, the Junggar Basin semi-desert and the Tian Shan range.
- Contrary to the popular belief about what a desert looks like, the Gobi is not sandy. Instead it is covered with bare rock, with shifting sands and salt marshes at lower levels.
- Gobi desert is a cold desert known for having low temperatures ranging between 25 °F and - 30 °F, with rapid fluctuations in the temperature levels.
- The altitude of the Gobi desert further contributes to its cold climate, since the desert is situated at a height of 3,000-5,000 ft above sea level. Hence, the minimum temperature in winters can be as low as - 40 °F, while in summers it can rise to as high as 122 °F.
- The vegetation in the Gobi desert mainly consists of drought-adapting shrubs, such as saltwort, saxual, wild onion and sagebrush, and grass, like bridle grass and needle grass. The most common plant specie found in the desert is the saxual, which is a woody shrub.
- Despite the fact that the Gobi desert has a harsh environment, 33 different types of animals are known to inhabit the Gobi desert, due to their superb adaptation skills. The most popular animals found here include jerboa, Gobi bear, Golden eagles, Plate-tailed gecko, Asiatic wild ass, wild camel, Asiatic ibex, meu, steppe antelope, black-tailed gazelle, Bactrian or double humped camels, sand plovers, marbled polecats, snow leopard, and so on.
- Since the Gobi is located in the north of the Himalayas, most of the rain-carrying clouds are blocked by the mighty mountains. Hence, Gobi receives only 8 inches of rain per year.
- The Gobi desert is one the main sources of the most incredible fossil fuels including those of the first dinosaur eggs and many other fossils. In fact, the first dinosaur eggs were found in this desert region, during the 1922-25 expeditions. Some of the dinosaurs that were discovered are Pinacosaurus, Velociraptor and Avimimus.