The sandy desert conveys to the viewer the typical image of a desert, which consists of sand and sand dunes and in which, of course, the sun shines relentlessly from a cloudless sky. Only about 20% of all deserts on earth consist of fine quartz sand, which has shaped our image of a desert in so many films and documentaries. Here are the ten largest sandy deserts in the world sorted in ascending order from tenth to first place:
In Turkmenistan, in Central Asia, is the Karakum, a desert with different geographical conditions and corresponding forms of the desert types from the clay desert to the black sand desert, which roughly means the translation for Karakum. A good quarter of the approximately 400,000 square kilometers of desert area are sandy deserts.
Although the total area of the Chihuahua Desert, which is mainly located in Mexico, covers almost half a million square kilometers and extends as far as Arizona in the USA, the actual sandy desert portion is only about 100,000 square kilometers. A specialty is the gypsum desert White Sands in New Mexico, which actually consists only of gypsum crystals and occupies about 700 square kilometers.
If you want to visit the seventh largest sandy desert on earth, you have to travel to Nevada in the United States. The Great Basin is home to other desert forms and dry salt lakes as well as a sandy desert with an expansion area of around 120,000 square kilometers.
About two thirds of the state of Syria are covered by the desert of the same name. This sandy desert also occupies parts of Jordan and Iraq. About 140,000 square kilometers of sandy desert on the Arabian Peninsula.
The Alxa or Alashan is a sandy desert in Inner Mongolia and is considered part of the Gobi Desert. With around 260,000 square kilometers, it covers the vast majority of this autonomous region in China.
In the southwest of the Australian continent is the large Victoria Desert, the total area of which is almost 300,000 square kilometers. The majority of these are sand and hiking dunes.
Like many other deserts, the Kalahari in Africa consists of various desert and savanna areas, some of which also represent sandy deserts. The desert, which is mostly in Botswana and Namibia, takes up a total area of around one million square kilometers, with the pure sandy desert being around 320,000 square kilometers.
Anyone who suspects that the Sahara is the largest sandy desert in the world is not entirely wrong. A total of about 2.2 million square kilometers of sandy desert cover this area, but not contiguously, but interrupted by rubble and gravel deserts. That is why the Sahara cannot claim first place among the sandy deserts.
The Taklamakan, the second largest sandy desert in the world, is called a desert by the Chinese for a reason. The desert in north-east China comprises around 340,000 square kilometers of sandy desert with dunes that can rise to over 300 meters.
The largest coherent sandy desert in the world and thus the leader is the Rub al-Chali. It covers an area of 780,000 square kilometers, with most of the desert in Saudi Arabia, but the neighboring countries of Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are also covered to a smaller extent by the Rub al-Chali.