Mojave Desert Research Paper

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California also has a desert within its state borders. It is a magnificent beauty that often goes unnoticed. It was named after its inhabitants, the Mohave tribe of Native Americans. The Mojave Desert is said to be one of the driest and smallest deserts in North America. This desert covers more than 25,000 square miles and goes across four states, southeastern California, southwestern Utah, Southern Nevada and Western Arizona. The Mojave Desert lies between the Sonoran desert and the Great Basin Shrub Steppe. Since the Mojave borders with the Sonoran Desert to the south, it shares some of the same inhabitants in its hillsides of that area. There is a great variation in climate due to the landscape of the desert. The desert’s elevation ranges…show more content…
This characteristic has tagged the Mojave Desert with the term of “high desert”. (DesertUSA) The temperatures across the desert vary during all seasons because of the different areas of the dessert located at different elevations throughout the region. Temperatures can reach from more than a record breaking 134 degrees Fahrenheit during a hot summer day, which it did in 1913 in Death Valley, to a cold 20 degrees Fahrenheit on a winter night. Rainfall in the Mohave Desert averages to about 5 inches a year. As a matter of fact, the community of Bagdad, California did not receive a drop of rain for 767 days! (Mojave Desert) The Mojave is a rain shadow desert. This means that the coastal mountain ranges to the west and the Sierra Nevada to the northwest of the Mojave Desert, receive most of the rain and snow in the area. By the time that the storms and systems make it over the high mountain ranges, the moisture…show more content…
The desert is rich in plants many which are classifies as endemic. (Hogan) Endemic means that it is only found in this ecosystem and nowhere else. Some of the common plants found in the Mojave are Brittle Bush, Common Saltbush, Creosote Bush Mojave Aster, Triangle-Leaf Bursage, and the Joshua Tree which only grows in the Mojave Desert. “The Joshua Tree got its name from the Mormon pioneers who thought the tree reminded them of Joshua, from the old testament of the Bible, a prophet who was waiving them on to the Promised Land.” (Alice) The Joshua Tree like many of the desert plants have their adaptations that allows them to survive in such a dry climate. In the case of the Joshua Tree, it has two set of roots that function a little different. One set is the root system that is in charge of storing surplus water for the tree to have during the dryer months and seasons. It stores the water in bulbs it develops for this very reason. These bulbs as well as the first root system are buried from 10 to 30 feet underground. The bulbs can have a circumference of 4 feet and weigh about 40 pounds. The second set of roots is more shallow and isn’t deeper than a couple of feet underground. The Joshua Tree also stores water through its spiny leaves. These capture any moisture that may be in the air and then stores it in its limbs and trunk.

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