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UTAH'S HOT DESERT

THE HEAT IS ON!

We begin our journey in a very hot, dry place. You have probably been there before. After all, a large portion of Utah is covered by one. Perhaps you even live there. Deserts are biomes that are extremely dry. The yearly rainfall is less that 25 cm (10 inches). You may think of deserts as always being hot, but there are two types of deserts: "hot" deserts and "cold" deserts.. This page is all about hot deserts. The temperatures of hot deserts can reach up to 136º F. In Utah, a high temperature of 117º F has been recorded in the Southern part of the State. That is HOT! The nights in deserts are cool.

 

THE LIVING DESERT!

You might think that animal and plant life in the desert would be sparse. The high temperatures and lack of water do keep many plants and animals from living in this area, but life does thrive in the desert. Plants and animals adapt to allow them to live in these extreme conditions. Many animals conserve energy by sleeping in underground burrows during the day when it is very hot and hunting for food at night. Insects and spiders that live in the desert have thick, hard bodies that help their bodies maintain their body temperatures. Reptiles have scales which keep in moisture. Animals in Utah deserts include the road runner, desert tortoise, horned toad, turkey vulture, kangaroo rat, and sidewinder rattlesnake.

Plants in the desert also have adapted to the harsh environment. Many plants grow in just the few weeks during the rainy season. They produce seeds quickly and then they die. Other plants have shallow root systems that soak up water quickly after a rainstorm. Still other plants have very deep roots that can reach water deep within the ground.

Plants in the desert, often have a waxy coating to reduce water loss. Cacti have needle like leaves to protect against water loss. Plants that live in the desert include the bristlecone pine, sagebrush, juniper, joshua tree, yucca, and cactus.

GO THERE!

If you would like to find out more about the desert, click on any of the pictures of Utah's deserts below.

 

DARE TO COMPARE!

Deserts are found throughout the world. You have probably heard of the Sahara Desert. It is found in northern Africa. Another famous desert in the United States is found in California. Use the Internet to find out the name of this Desert. Compare and contrast this desert or another famous desert with Utah's desert. Don't get too hot working on this assignment.

CONDITION

UTAH'S DESERTS

OTHER DESERT (YOU DECIDE)

TEMPERATURE RANGE

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YEARLY RAINFALL

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PLANT LIFE

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ANIMAL LIFE

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OTHER INTERESTING FACTS

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Updated August 7, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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