Mojave Desert

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Pinnacles National Natural Landmark

The Mojave Desert ( listening ? / I ) ( English Mojave Desert [ məˈhɑːviː ]), also known as the Mohave Desert , is a desert in western North America . It covers 113,300 square kilometers in the area of ​​the US states California and Nevada as well as small foothills to Utah and Arizona . The desert forms a typical American desert basin and is made up of the Tehachapi Mountains , the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Bernardino MountainsAudio file / audio sample limited. Its western margins are very clearly visible as they consist of the two largest continental fault zones in California, the San Andreas Fault and the Garlock Fault Zone .

The Mojave Desert is one of the rain shadow deserts . Rain-shadow deserts can only arise if they are surrounded by mountains that damm up the clouds and let rain down, so that there is no more water left for the land behind the mountains. It is named after the Mohave Indian people .


Coyote Dry Lake waterhole

The Mojave has a maximum rainfall of 150 millimeters per year. This desert is home to one of the hottest places, Death Valley . Average temperatures of over 45 ° C are reached here from July to August . Also here is the Mojave National Preserve , a desert reserve . The main source of water in the desert is the Mojave River , which merges into the drainless Mojave Sink .


Kingston Range

The Mojave Desert covers parts of southeastern California , southern Nevada , northwestern Arizona, and southwestern Utah . It borders the Great Basin to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south . The Colorado River flows through the east, in the west it is delimited by the Sierra Nevada , whose high mountain ranges are mainly responsible for the formation of this rain-shadow desert.

The desert is part of the Basin and Range Province . There are some abandoned cities called ghost towns in it . The best known is the California city of Calico , where silver was previously sought. Other ghost towns sprang up at the time Route 66 and the former US Highway 91 were built .

The main cities are Las Vegas ( Nevada ) and the California cities of Victorville , Barstow and Needles .


Joshua Palm Lily in Joshua Tree National Park

Typical of the Mojave Desert is the Yucca brevifolia ( Yucca brevifolia ), with English name "Joshua Tree". This agave plant occurs only in this desert. Joshua Tree National Park , located in the Mojave Desert , was named after her. In addition to some mammals, the Mojave is home to numerous reptiles such as the California gopher tortoise and the Mojave and Texas rattlesnake . In the west of the Mojave Deserts, poppies of the genus Arctomecon occur. Arctomecon humilis is one of the most endangered species in the United States.

Other federal protected areas for nature in the Mojave include the Mojave National Preserve , the Mojave Trails National Monument , Sand to Snow National Monument , Desert National Wildlife Refuge , Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, as well as portions of the Death- Valley National Park and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area . The states have also designated other protected areas such as Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve .

Economy and Transport

Modified NASA - Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft loaded with the Space Shuttle Endeavor STS-126 above the Mojave (10 Dec. 2008)

Due to its proximity to the metropolitan area of Los Angeles and a relatively uniform solar radiation of more than 2,100 kWh / kWp / year, the Mojave Desert is ideally suited for the generation of renewable energy. Since the 1980s, a wide variety of solar power plants with a combined output of 354 MW have been built for test purposes in the Mojave Desert. This made the Mojave Desert the most important solar region in the world for decades. The Mojave Desert only lost this position due to the massive promotion of photovoltaics in Germany.

Due to rising costs for fossil fuels and technical progress, solar technology in the Mojave Desert will become increasingly economically competitive at the end of 2010. Therefore, since then, numerous other solar power plants ( photovoltaic power plants and solar thermal power plants ) have been planned and built in the Mojave Desert. For the first time, large power plants with more than 250 MW are also being planned, which only require low subsidies (<30 percent of the construction costs) (status 2010).

Well-known tourist roads through the desert are Route 66 and the former US Highway 91 . Other highways in the Mojave are US Highway 395 , Interstate 15, and Interstate 40 .

Also located in the Mojave Desert airport Mojave Air and Space Port . It is mainly known as a parking space for decommissioned civil aircraft, i.e. as an aircraft graveyard.


Web links

Commons : Mojave Desert  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mojave Desert. In: DesertUSA. Retrieved August 12, 2019 .
  2. ^ Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert

Coordinates: 35 ° 0 ′ 30 ″  N , 115 ° 28 ′ 30 ″  W.