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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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