The Sahara is a unique desert in the world, both for its size and for the ecosystem that has been created in it. Here we tell you 15 curiosities about him ordered from least to most surprising. How far can the air of the Sahara go?
15. The largest in the world
The Sahara is not just any desert, since it has an extension of 9.065.253 square kilometers, which makes it the largest in the world. However, there are people who think that it is much smaller, since they mistake it for one of its most famous parts: Western Sahara.
In the following political map you can see the countries that have a part of the surface of this desert. They are the ones that are colored:
14. A snowy landscape
Although it is a strange and unusual phenomenon, it sometimes snows on this desert. This has happened in the dunes of Ain Sefra, city of Algeria. The last two times have been in 1979 and 2016.
This phenomenon occurs thanks to the low temperatures that are reached at night (around 0 degrees). The result is an incredible desert landscape with snow that we can see in this video:
13. The Desert Horned Viper
The fauna of the Sahara is quite amazing. One of the most prominent animals is the desert horned viper. This snake is characterized by having small horns on its head.
Due to its color, it hides easily in the sand to protect itself from predators or keep an eye on potential victims. Through its fangs it is capable of injecting a dangerous poison.
12. Paradise oases
Not everything is sand in the Sahara desert. Fortunately, we can also find beautiful oases that have been formed thanks to the underground aquifers in the area. Some of the most prominent are the Awbari, Bajariya and Gardaya oases.
11. The white desert of Egypt
Although it looks like snow or ice, this part of the Sahara known as Farafra white desert It owes its color to limestone. The wind has eroded and shaped them, giving rise to strange shapes.
10. The legend of Merzouga
Erg Chebbi is a large dune area in Morocco. Here is usually told a popular legend. She explains that, years ago, the inhabitants of Merzouga were having a party when a woman and her children asked for help.
By ignoring them, they died. As a consequence, a great sandstorm covered the town forever. For this reason, it is said that screams can be heard among the dunes at noon.
9. A fighting flag
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, also known as Western Sahara, is an area that is only recognized as a State by some countries. Before it was the Spanish Sahara, but later it became the possession of Morocco and Mauritania. This is his flag:
8. A movie desert
The impressive landscapes of the Sahara have managed to make famous films there. One of them is The Wars, which was recorded in locations such as Tataouine, in Tunisia.
Another famous recording that chose this desert for some of his most famous scenes is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which narrates one of the adventures of Indiana Jones.
7. The rock paintings of the desert
In the past, the inhabitants of the Sahara desert tended to leave engravings in places like caves or shelters. A good part has been preserved to this day. Among the many points, the Gilf Kebir plateau stands out, in Egypt and Libya. Animals, people and abstract drawings were represented.
6. The desert fox
The species of fox smaller of the world is in the Sahara. The fennec or desert fox stands out for its large ears, which help it stay cool during the high temperatures of the day. It is a nocturnal animal that lives in underground shelters.
5. The salt lake of Tunis
Chott el Djerid is the largest saline area in the Sahara, covering 7.000 square kilometers. This lake only has water during the rainy season. The rest of the year, due to the hot weather, it remains dry.
4. A special plant
The rose of Jericho is a very special plant thanks to its resistance. When it dries, its branches contract and it curls into a ball. So it can stay during years. However, when it finds moisture or water, it hydrates again and returns to its original shape. It is common to find it in much of the desert.
3. The unknown pyramids
While the pyramids of Egypt are known worldwide, those of Sudan they are not. These belong to the Kushites, a people who lived in the area between 260 BC and 300 AD There are a total of 250 pyramids, which resemble the Egyptians, but are smaller and inclined.
2. A different origin
Oddly enough, the Sahara was once a great jungle. There are different hypotheses that explain its transformation. Some argue that millions of years ago, due to the drying up of the Tethys Sea, it became a desert. Other theories maintain that this occurred about 5.000 years ago.
1. Beyond the ocean
A layer of air in the Sahara, also known by the acronym SAL (Saharan Air Layer) is a large quantity of dry air laden with microscopic sand particles. Surprisingly, these air masses travel more than 7.500 km and have come to affect areas of the Caribbean Sea or Central America. In the following aerial photo you can observe this phenomenon:
Also, as this video shows, after various studies, NASA has been able to show in three dimensions how much dust moves to the Amazon: