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SCIENCE / GEOGRAPHY

List: Top Ten Largest Deserts in the World

Source: various sources

Base: We averaged out figures from various web sources which had various different rankings, a variation produced because clear physical boundaries may not occur and therefore geographers do not always concur. That last bit rhymed by the way. woot!

Notes: Important deserts that did not make our top ten list below include: Sonoran, Taklamakan, Kavir, Syrian, Thar, Gibson Desert, Simpson, Atacama, Namib and Mojave.

The Sahara is technically the world's second largest desert after Antarctica, but we didn't think Antarctica should be on our list. At over 9,000,000 square kilometres (in proper money that equals 3,500,000 sq miles) it covers most countries in Northern Africa; an area stretching from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean coasts. Sahara derives from an Arabic word meaning "desert" so to refer to the Sahara as the "Sahara Desert" could be considered a tautology.

Rank

Desert

Total Area (km2)

Location

1.

Sahara

3,400,000

Northern Africa

2.

Arabian

2,300,000

Arabian peninsula

3.

Gobi

1,300,000

Mongolia / N.E China

4.

Kalahari

850,000

Southern Africa

5.

Patagonia

700,000

Argentina

6.

Great Victoria

648,000

Australia

7.

Great Basin

495,000

USA

8.

Chihuahua

400,000

Mexico / USA

9.

Great Sandy

375,000

Australia

10.

Kara-Kum

330,000

Uzbekistan / Turkmenistan


 

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