What Are Some Facts About the Turkestan Desert?

An interesting fact about the Turkestan Desert is that it is a cold desert rather than having the hot, dry conditions typically associated with deserts. The desert spans parts of southwestern Russia and the Middle East, and it is covered largely by sand dunes.

The Turkestan Desert is about 215,000 square miles in size. Some of the plants that grow in the desert include saxaul trees, alhagi shrub and sedges. Several animals inhabit the desert, some of which include gazelles, desert tortoises, saiga antelopes and gerbils. In ancient times, caravans traveling via the Silk Route from China passed through the Turkestan Desert.

Unlike hot and dry deserts, which rarely experience rainfall, cold deserts have winters characterized by a great amount of rainfall and snowfall. Winters in a cold desert last most of the year, although these types of deserts do have short summers during which time conditions are moist and moderately warm. During the wintertime, the average temperature in a cold desert is -2 to 4 degrees Celsius. In the summertime, the average temperature rises to 21 to 26 degrees Celsius. Most animals that inhabit cold deserts are burrowers.

Other examples of cold deserts include the Gobi Desert and the Takla Makan Desert. The Gobi Desert exists in southern Magnolia and southern China, while the Takla Makan Desert is located in western China.