A desert is defined as an area where less than 19.6 inches (50 centimeters) of rain falls each year. Deserts cover about one third of the Earth's land surface. Examples of famous deserts include the Sahara, Atacama and Mojave deserts. Deserts aren't just hot and dry places, though; like Antarctica, they can also be cold and dry. Read below for news about these driest spots on Earth.
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Water in the Desert? Massive Engineering Project Seen from Space (Photo)
The Hanhowuz Reservoir of Turkmenistan
July 1st, 2014
The Hanhowuz Reservoir of Turkmenistan stands out as a shock of turquoise in the desert, with irrigated agricultural fields making a checkerboard around it. But this water diversion project and others like it have caused major environmental problems.
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China's 'Great Wall of Dust' Seen From Space
dust storm in china
April 25th, 2014
A massive east Asian dust storm is caught on satellite imagery on April 23, 2014. Dust storms are common in northern China and southern Mongolia during the late winter and spring, and pollution often affects Beijing and other cities.
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In Photos: Beautiful Cactus Flowers Signal Spring Is Here
Saguaro cactus bloom, spring
April 26th, 2015
When the cacti found in the deserts of North American begin to bloom in late March and April, spring has once again returned to these arid lands.
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Dreamy Desert View Captured from Space (Photo)
This astronaut photograph of the Saharan coastline was captured on May 20, 2014, by Expedition 40 aboard the International Space Station.
June 30th, 2014
Where the Sahara Desert meets the sea, winds sculpt the arid landscape in a series of parallel lines. Human activity in the form of mining is visible in a new astronaut photograph of the west coast of Africa.
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Super-Sized Sandbox Reveals How Dunes Grow
sand dunes
January 12th, 2014
For the first time, scientists have watched Earth's winds give birth to dunes. Results from the giant Mongolian sandbox confirm long-held models of sand dune formation.
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Africa's Dry Dusty Winds Seen from Space (Photo)
Dust plumes off Namibia
July 7th, 2014
The berg winds of southern Africa are seen blowing plumes of dust off the Namibian coast in a new astronaut image. These hot, dry winds originate from inland mountains and blow dust toward the sea.
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Bright Blue Mining Ponds Stand Out in Space Photo
Evaporation Ponds in Utah Desert
June 25th, 2014
Bright shocks of blue in the Utah desert are mining evaporation ponds, dyed the brilliant color to promote the absorption of sunlight. The mines produce potash, an ingredient in fertilizer.
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