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Africa

» The Sahara

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The Sahara Desert is the largest in the world with a total land area of 3½ million square miles, 8% of the world's land. Of that, 80,000 square miles surround oases and can sustain a variety of plant and animal life. The desert is actually made up of three main smaller regions, the Western Sahara, the Central Plateau, and the Libyan Desert.

The Western Sahara is made up of sandy and rocky land. Almost no rain falls in this region, but in some places underground water makes its way to the surface, creating oases with date palms and other trees. These water supplies are used for irrigation in areas nearby where a number of crops are grown. Animals in these areas include gazelle, antelopes, jackals, foxes, badgers, and hyenas.

The Central Plateau, with elevations averaging between 1,900 to 2,500 feet, extends from north-west to south-east across the Sahara. This region includes many high peaks, some more than 11,000 feet high. Rainfall is very scarce in this region, but many of the area’s mountains are snow-capped at times.

The Libyan Desert is the driest part of the Sahara. Almost no rain falls, and there are few oases. This is the area of high, sandy dunes that are often photographed as the Sahara. These massive dunes can be as high as 400 feet!

Answer the following questions from the reading above.

Which number in miles describes the total size of the Sahara?

3.500,000 3,500,000.
35,000.000 35,000,000.

The MOST IMPORTANT characteristic of an oasis is the presence of

plant life. animal life.
desert. water.

3½ million square miles is to the total land area, as 80,000 square miles is to the

water on the desert. sandy and rocky land.
underground water. moist and fertile land.
Sand Dunes

This picture to the right was MOST LIKELY taken in the

Western Sahara. Central Plateau.
Libyan Desert. oases.