Deserts

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Firefly Books, 2003 - Nature - 256 pages
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A quick reference to the planet's driest regions.

Deserts is an abundantly illustrated handbook that examines the fascinating eco-systems of 49 major deserts. Studying the history of deserts improves our understanding of the climatic conditions that create hostile environments. Deserts are located on every continent -- including Antarctica. The book covers each with concise descriptions and quick-reference symbols and charts that display vital statistics such as average rainfall and temperatures, and expanse.

Deserts are defined by their aridity and this lack of water results in conditions that are hostile to flora and fauna, prevent soil, and cause extreme swings of temperature.

For instance, equatorial deserts can experience drops from 122F during the day to less than -13F at night.

Some deserts are very old -- the Kalahari has existed for 65-135 million years. Others are relative newcomers -- the Sahara was Africa's Land-o-Lakes until the last Ice Age.

Seven North American deserts are featured: Sonora, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, Gran Desierto de Altar, Mojave, Great Salt Lake, and Great Basin.

 

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Contents

w
hte CONTENTS 8 CLIMATE
HL
The Planets Desert Zones
WEATHERING
Meteorological Weathering
Mechanical Weathering
Weathering by Algae and Lichens 40 Limestone Weathering 41 Rock Patinas
Pavements of Stone
DESERT CHRONICLE 80 The Landscape in History
Fluvial Plains
The Disappearance of the Deserts
The Deserts Revenge
DESERT GUIDES 100 Africa and Europe
Middle East
Asia

DUNES 46 Shapes Created by Wind
Sand Sheets
Loess 62 Shapes Created by Wind Abrasion
Yardangs
DESERT SOILS i affrueafeaf 68 Surface Morphologies
f _ 00
Index 252 Photo Credits
Glossary 256 Web Sites
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Marco C. Stoppato is a leading science photographer and geologist. His photographs appear in many travel and popular science magazines, including No Limits, Focus, Gullivers, Scienza & Vita, Aqua and Newton.

Alfredo Bini teaches Geomorphology at the faculty of Geological Sciences at the University of Milan, Italy. An expert in landscape evolution, he has contributed to numerous scientific publications.

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