Talk:List of North American deserts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Opening comment[edit]

I thought about making a list like this some time ago, but unlike other geo features, there are actually very few named deserts, and it seemed that a non-redir list of deserts sectioned by continents would be more than enough. Stan 21:49, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Eastern Desert?[edit]

O.k., I realize this sounds ignorant but I recall seeing an article about a mini-desert in the eastern U.S., I think it was in the New England area or somewhere in Virginia. I am wondering if it was just a man-made tourist attraction or if there really is a mini-desert micro-climate in the eastern U.S.A. , or if someone just played a joke on me. Any response would be appreciated and if anyone has a link that would be great. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.133.42.16 (talk) 02:23, 10 June 2009 (UTC)


o.k, to answer my own question (which possibly others might also have) I found this link: http://desertofmaine.com/ I don't believe it is a true desert though, need to do more research, think it is very unlikely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.133.42.16 (talk) 02:33, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Desert of Maine —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.133.42.16 (talk) 02:50, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Baja California desert and (Yuha Desert)[edit]

The description in the article explains how it is a different type of desert, because of the Pacific(humidity ( + winds?) ). The East side of the Peninsular Ranges are also a desert related to the "Sonoran", but possibly should be listed differently on this List of N.Amer. page. Maybe a Baja Calif listing: and what are the lower deserts for Baja California Sur. The Baja Sur page mentions the "Vizcaino desert" in the north part of Baja Sur.....(I'll make a change on the article page to see if it is agreeable.).. --MichaelMcAnnisYuma,AZ--Mmcannis 05:36, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

This and the content at List of deserts should be combined. It's silly to have one page that lists north american deserts and another that lists all the rest. Silly or americentric, which may be worse.

-there is a "Deserts of Egypt" page and I suspect other regional (by Continent) desert pages; I appreciated the "Deserts of North America" page, please keep it. I don't think "Americentric" has anything to do with it.

-there is a deserts of Australia, too, probably others as well; I suggest one do a search before stating the "Amerocentric" complaint, it gets old and is over used, almost like the race card. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.224.0.219 (talk) 15:15, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

5 major deserts[edit]

The intro states that there are five major deserts in the US.

I think these area

Chihuaua Sonora Mojave Great Basin Columbia Basin

Correct me if I'm wrong.

The list itself has headings and subheadings. The headings should be the 5 major deserts, with the minor deserts within listed below. For example, I believe the Colorado Plateau is part of the Great Basin desert. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 216.57.220.63 (talk) 00:46, 10 February 2007 (UTC).

I'm not sure that's true -- though they are similar high deserts. Pete Tillman (talk) 15:53, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


For the purpose of this list, I think there are six major N. Am deserts:

  • Columbia Plateau (including Snake River Plain)
  • Great Basin (including Wyoming Basin)
  • Colorado Plateau (including Arizona/New Mexico Plateau). Note that these two ecoregions amount to the physiographic & geologic Colorado Plateau.
  • Mojave Desert
  • Chihuahuan Desert
  • Sonoran Desert

--but it would be nice to find a cite for this scheme. I'm still looking, and help is welcome! Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 18:26, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

  • It's pretty clear that the consensus number for N.Am deserts is actually four, see (for example)
So I've cited a couple of these and changed the intro to match. --Pete Tillman (talk) 02:57, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

List Cleanup[edit]

Dropped Moab desert (redlink, non-notable). Propose deleting the redlinks in Baja Calif, unless someone wants to write stubs. Pete Tillman (talk) 15:53, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Canadian "deserts"[edit]

Do these really belong here? I notice we've picked up another one. Move elsewhere? Delete? --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:32, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, the thing is we call them deserts, even though most are only semi-arid; Carcross I've not seen referred to before as a desert - I've seen Carcross Dunes - and despite Osoyoos' claims to desert status, ecologically it's shrub steppe, albeit with ultra-low rainfall and particular species; but soare other areas in BC that at least look like deserts; and in some cases there are true pocket deserts with less than rainfall under 5 in, even under 2 in, but generally those are not much more than a square mile or two and haven't been really named or charted, just observed; the environs of downtown Lillooet and teh adjoining banks of the Fraser is well down towards 1 inch a year, or used to be before claimte shifts changed teh wind patterns (intense rainshadow because of immediate high terrain on the windward side). There's also a new "promotional desert" like Osoyoos' marketing game near Kamloops - the Copper Desert Country, which certainly, again, looks like a desert and this or that square mile of it might even qualify in terms of rainfall. Parts of the Palliser Triangle in the Praries ahve also been called desert, and somewhere I saw a ref to Point Pelee being a deesert, of having one at its tip; quite a stretch when you're used to thinking of the Gobi and Mojave, huh? There's also arctic deserts, like the Antarctic "dry valleys", but I'm not familiar with their locations or names. Most named "deserts" in Canada, or things htat have been called desert, are only semi-arid. See Talk:Nk'mip Desert, also.....Skookum1 (talk) 02:33, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
There's now {{WikiProject Canada}} (WikiProject Canadian Geography) where it might be worth taking this up, I havent' used it much otehr than adding its switches....{{WikiProject Ecology}} also, perhaps, in terms of definitions of "desert"Skookum1 (talk) 02:44, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup & revision[edit]

I've tried to reorganize the list to make it more useful & informative. See what you think. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 00:48, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Still working on it. More to do! Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 05:31, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Owyhee Desert[edit]

This is in the Great Basin section; but it's part of the Columbia drainage, via the Snake....shouldn't it be in that section? Or do the Columbia Basin and Columbia Plateau not exactly "equate"?Skookum1 (talk) 18:48, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

i.e. obviously Columbia Plateau (ecoregion) isn't quite the same as Columbia Plateau, either....which is the defining meaning of "Columbia Plateau" as re the status of the Owyhee? Is "Columbia Plateau (ecoregion)" really the proper link for Columbia Plateau here? i.e. that's an ecoregion, not landform designation; or is it the ecoregion that applies?Skookum1 (talk) 19:07, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Good questions, and the more I look into this, the more confused I get [grin]...
For the Owyhee Desert -- I can't find a decent map of it online, and I don't know that area well. As nearly as I can tell, north part is geologically Columbia Plateau, south part is Basin & Range. As an ecoregion, it all appears to be in EPA 80 Northern Basin and Range Map. Incidentally, "In common usage, the term 'Columbia Basin' refers to more or less the same area as the Columbia Plateau." -- Columbia River Plateau
So we could list it in both? That's what I did for Death Valley. Or, perhaps better, advertise for someone who knows the area well.
For ecoregions vs physiographic region vs geologic region -- well, they overlap, & I'm still trying to sort this out. Since the definition of desert involves rainfall & temp (dry, evap>>precip), probably the ecoregion or biome should be primary, I think -- but comments are most welcome! Slogging away, --Pete Tillman (talk) 19:29, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Map of Columbia Plateau/British Columbia deserts/scrublands[edit]

This satellite image, or others like it, may be useful to illustrate the extent of xeric shrublands into BC and is also pretty graphic about the Columbia Plateau. There might be finer-resolution ones, I'll look around the NASA site....visible on the map, other than the so-called Nk'mip Desert, are teh South Thompson Desert/Thompson Canyon Desert (including the aforementioned Copper Desert Country, a neologism which gets its name from Copper Creek and adjoining community of the same name, which are overlooked by Painted Bluffs Provincial Park) and the Arrowstone Hills, the Fraser Canyon (which is desert from around the confluence of the Thompson upstream to just above the Chilcotin junction, the Nicola Country and the pocket desert around Keremeos. Some articles exist, such as Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park (I think it's called) at the Chilcotin confluence, and the badlands of Churn Creek Protected Area, although overall Fraser Canyon will do as a desert-article link as most of its length is desert, or near-desert; likwise the Okanagan Valley. The arid semideserts of the Stikine and Taku basins are not shown on this map, which ends c. 53.5 N.....Skookum1 (talk) 19:07, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Nice photo -- a series of annotated satphotos of the N.Am deserts would be great! --Pete Tillman (talk) 19:45, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, the BC 'deserts' seem to be part of the Thompson-Okanogan Plateau ecoregion (redlink), listed as a Cold Desert in the List of ecoregions in North America (CEC). So, by this definition, these are real deserts -- or xeric shrublands, anyway.
Yeah, I know 'bout that ecoregion; it's used by the BC Ministry of Environment for their own adminisntraitve regions, or close to it - the name you provide is "off" though, no matter the source - there is no Okangan Plateau; there is a Thompson Plateau so if they had been paying attention they would have named it Thompson Plateau-Okanagan ecoregion, though the BC MoE uses simply "Thompson Okanagan".....such region-name coulpings are common in BC, particularly with combinatinos of Thompson and Okanagan (Thompson-Nicola, Thompson-Shuswap, Shuswap-Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen, Nicola-Similkameen, Boundary-Similkameen, Okanagan Boundary....and I've missed some, even....).Skookum1 (talk) 20:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


If we can sort them out, which we probably can. Broad-brush, the northern arid lands are shrublands, while the southern are 'true' deserts. --Pete Tillman (talk) 19:45, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Except when you get into Mexico, and start running into desert thornscrub.... which is hard on clothes (and skin). Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:58, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I travelled through the Infiernillo - by car, thankfully; the place we stopped to buy our warmer-than-lukewarm coca-colas was built out of thorn-bush.Skookum1 (talk) 20:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

More cleanup[edit]

I cut these during periodic maintenance:

  • Diamond A Desert (NV), doesn't exist per Google except as a dude ranch name -- spam?

common mistake on Great Basin Desert[edit]

The Great Basin Desert – located within the Great Basin, it is commonly mistaken as the largest desert in North America due to confusion between the area of the Great Basin and the area of the Great Basin Desert. even on the Wikipedia article Great Basin Desert. Have added a fact tag. cheers --Earlypsychosis (talk) 07:09, 19 December 2012 (UTC)--Earlypsychosis (talk) 07:09, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Saguaro National Park: Sonoran Desert or not?[edit]

At the moment, two very contrasting views are presented on wikipedia in different articles. In the article Saguaro National Park is a very part of the Sonoran Desert. More, the saguaro cactus is typical of this desert, as it is also present in the Mexican part of the Sonoran Desert (e.g. in the state of Sonora). In Sonoran Desert, there is a picture of the Saguaro NP in the information box. Even in this article (List of North Am...), there is the Ansel Adams picture of a Saguaro cactus in the Saguaro NP (eastern or central part of Southern Arizona). In contrast to this, in this article (List of North Am...) the Saguaro National Park is classified as Arizona/New Mexico Plateau and as a "cold desert". The altitude of the Saguaro National Park is comparable to the Californian "High Desert" (i.e. the high part of the Mojave Desert). In Sonoran Desert, the area of the Saguaro National Park is also not listed as a subregion (in line with the listing in this article). --Wormke-Grutman (talk) 07:49, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

The Saguaro National Park is not mentioned at all in this article, so I can't see how this article can be classifying it as part of the Arizona/New Mexico Plateau. I've made a longer reply to your identical question over at Talk:Sonoran_Desert#Saguaro_National_Park:_Sonoran_Desert_or_not.3F. —RP88 (talk) 15:44, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Graphic of the locations[edit]

It's a cool picture but what happened to the great lakes? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:E000:859B:A900:F10E:F297:A721:7B31 (talk) 16:19, 17 January 2018 (UTC)