THE GOBI DESERT
The Gobi desert, one of the world's great deserts, covers much of
the southern part of Mongolia. Unlike
The Sahara there are few sand dunes in the Gobi; rather you'll
find large barren expenses of gravel plains and rocky outcrops.
The climate here is extreme. Temperatures reach +40° C. in
summer, and -40 in winter. Precipitation averages less than 100
mm per year, while some areas only get rain once every two or
three years. Strong winds up to 140 km/h make travel dangerous
in spring and fall. Great Gobi National Park is one of the largest
World Biospheres, with an area larger than Switzerland. It
contains the last remaining wild Bactrian (two-humped) camels,
wild ass, and a small population of Gobi bears, the only desertinhabiting bear.
CLIMATE AND SIZE
Size:The Gobi desert covers 1.3 million square kilometers
and is elevated with hot summers and cold winters.
Climate: Gobi is a very cold desert yet it rarely snows. It
is located above sea level. Rainfall is up to 7.6 inches per
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Plants: The desert flora includes the Saxaul Tree,
Saltwort, wild onions, desert shrubbery and grass
Animals: The desert is a home for many different
animals like black-tailed gazelles, bactrian camels,
wolves, marbled polecats, Mongolian wild ass, brown
bears, snow leopards, and sandplovers.
Adaptations: To survive in Gobi desert, the
plants have to lose their leaves until it rains
again. They are gifted with long roots that
absorb water from a large area. Animals get
their water from the food they eat, and come
out at night.
PEOPLE OF GOBI DESERT
Found in the Gobi are Mongolians and Han
Chinese, most of whom are nomadic herders.
Their traditional home is a tent like structure called
the ger or yurt. These circular dwellings are built to
be dismantled with latticed wooden frames held
together with ropes and a felt covering made from
Milk is a major part of the native diet due to water
being such a scare resource. Taken from goats,
sheep, yaks, camels and horses, milk is consumed
in all its forms; hot, cold, dried, curdled, and
churned. It can be processed into cheeses,
creams, and yogurt, or fermented into alcoholic
beverages. Another popular dish is bortzig, a fried
The people of the Gobi desert are known for their
hospitality, a traditional Mongolian proverb says
“Happy is the one who has guests, merry is the
home boasting a tethering rail full of visitor’s
PHYSICAL ENVIROMENT OF THE GOBI
Physical Environment of the Gobi
The terrain of the Gobi desert is as harsh as the climate. The severe
winds have removed almost all of the soil and deposited it in North
central China leaving behind barren expenses, wind sculpted cliffs, and
gravel plains of boulders, rocks, pebbles and dirt. Other areas of the
desert include mountains, salt flats and sand dunes. NASA scientists
“found evidence suggesting that conditions there may be similar to those
in certain regions of Mars.”
While there aren’t many sand dunes in the Gobi, the few there are
incredible. The Badain Jaran region has some of the deserts largest,
with dunes exceeding 1,300 feet in height. The Uush dunes, lying in the
northern part of Buyant Bag, are known by the locals for their healing
sands, and the Khongoryn Els dunes in Sevrei sum, are called Duut
Mankhan or “singing dunes,” because on windy days they make a sound
like a plane engine.
Gobi Desert Facts:
-Gobi means "Waterless
- It is approximately
500,000 square miles
- Only 5% is sand dunes
- Contains 5 disctinct
- Currently expanding due
- Lies in a rain shadow
caused by the Himalayas
- Fifth largest desert in the
- It is a cold desert
- Populated mostly
Mongols and Han Chinese
- Located on a Plateau
around 3,000 to 5,000 feet
above sea level
Although it may seem like a barren, rocky wasteland, the Gobi Desert
harbors some sparse plant life. The extremely low level of annual rainfall
still provides enough moisture for a few desert plants to survive the
otherwise harsh environment.
The saxaul tree is perhaps the most important plant in the Gobi. This
remarkable tree is one of the only sources of water available in the midst
of rock and sand. Water reserves collect behind the tree's bark, allowing
both humans and animals to harvest the moisture. The bark may even
be squeezed, yielding more precious water.
However, the saxaul is not the only plant that survives in the world's fifth
largest desert. While the saxaul tree provides much needed water to
Gobi's animal life, wild onions offer that same fauna a food source.
These wild onions even offer a supply source to humans traveling over
the Gobi Desert. Many people have described these onions as having a
distinct hazelnut type of flavor.
GOBI DESERT PLANT LIFE!
Though it may seem that Gobi desert is a barren wasteland, there are some Gobi
desert vegetation which can survive. Some of the common plant life include Saxaul
trees, Tamarisk, Halophytes and Nitre bush.
One of the most commonly found tree in the Gobi desert is the Saxaul tree and is
the most important tree for survival of humans and animals as they are a good
source of water. Since water is scarce, this tree stores water under its barks which is
harvested by the people living in the Gobi desert.
Tamarisk, also called Salt cedars, is a variety of shrub that grows in the Gobi desert.
Compared to other shrubs found in the Gobi desert, this shrub is larger and can
grow to a height of about 8 to 16 feet while they are smaller than trees found in the
region. These plants have small scaly leaves and produce off-white or pink flowers.
They mostly grow on flat surfaces where moisture content
IF YOUR WONDERING WHAT A SAXAUL TREE IS IT’S A TREE THAT
CAN SURVIVE WITH VERY LITTLE WATER!