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The Sahara Desert is the world?s largest desert area. It extends from
the Africa?s Atlantic Ocean side to the Red Sea and consists of the countries
of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and
Sudan. It is about 5,200 miles long. Overall, the Sahara Desert covers
3,500,000 square miles. The
geography of the desert is varied. In the west, the Sahara is rocky with varied
elevation. It does contain underground rivers, which sometime penetrate the
surface, resulting in oases. The central region of the Sahara has more
elevation than the other areas, with peaks such as Emi Koussi and Tahat. Even
though the area lacks rainfall, these peaks are snowcapped during the winter.
The Eastern part of the Sahara, the Libyan Desert, is dry with very few oases. The
Sahara?s climate is very hot and dry. Although it is very hot during the day,
it does become cold at night. On average, it only has 8 inches of rainfall per
year. Because of this, the Sahara has a poulation of only 2 million people. The
Sahara used to be a fertile area in which elephants, giraffes and other animals
grazed. This was about 10,000 years ago. It is estimated that in 4,000bc, the
climate began to get drier. The fertile landscape dried up and the desert widened,
creating the form that appears today.
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