The Sahara is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi) is comparable to the area of China or the United States.
1. From December to February, the lack of humidity in the Sahara causes nighttime temperatures to plunge, often to freezing and below.
2. Like the mountains in Antarctica, some sand dunes in the Sahara can get snow-covered. There are no ski resorts however!
3. The all-time record high in Antarctica is just 15 degrees Celsius. (59 degrees F)
4. Opposite to common belief, Parts of the Sahara are rich and fertile.
5. Sahara desert is not actually the world’s largest desert.
6. Since John Glenn first orbited the earth, the Sahara has expanded by another 250,000 sq mi to now cover over 3.6 million square miles.
7. It comprises eight percent of the world’s land area.
8. Very few call it home. The continental U.S. is home to 300 million individuals. The Sahara, covering the same land area, is home to just two million. That’s a population density of just 1/150th of that of the U.S.
9. In Eqypt, near the Nile, endless miles of the Sahara have been transformed by irrigation.
10. Thoughts of the Sahara invariably conjure up images of endless giant sand dunes. And yes, there certainly are dunes; in the south of Libya, some tower to over 400 feet high. One could stack the Statue of Liberty on top of itself, and hide both versions behind one of those towering dunes!
11. However, in many places, the sand comprises only a thin layer atop a gravel substrata. In other spots the shifting sands have in fact laid bare the gravel base.
12. It is home to millions of dung beetles.
13. The Dung Beetle does indeed feast on fecal matter. Their unique taste for animal waste is actually rather essential in the Sahara.
14. It actually homes a marathon! The Marathon des Sables (MDS) is run in the Sahara in southern Morocco each year in April. It has to be entered several years in advance, and it costs over $4,500 to participate.
15. The Sahara covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania , Mali, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.