The United States contains four desert regions: the Great Basin Desert, the Sonoran Desert, the Mojave Desert, and the Chihuahuan Desert.
The Great Basin desert covers much of Nevada and spills into parts of Oregon, California, Idaho, and Utah. It is cooler than the other three desert regions and gets some snow in winter.
The Sonoran Desert lies in south-central California and southern Arizona, extending south into Mexico. Some scientists call it the biologically richest desert in the world, thanks to two rainy seasons, in summer and in winter.
The tall saguaro (pronounced “swaro”) cactus is a commonly seen plant here.
The Mojave Desert is between the Sonoran and the Great Basin Deserts and stretches from California, across the southern part of Nevada, and into the northwestern corner of Arizona. It is the smallest of the U.S. deserts and is home to Death Valley.
The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest in North America, but only a small part lies in the United States, in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas; the rest is in northern Mexico. Several mountain ranges stretch through this desert.
The creosote bush, found in the U.S. southwestern deserts, is the world’s oldest living thing.
These common desert evergreen plants can survive up to two years without water and live an average of 2,000 years.
The oldest creosote bush ever found, at about 12,000 years old, was discovered in the Mojave Desert.