Skip to main content
Deserts

Insight Into: Deserts

Over hundreds of years, relentless winds have created vast fields of giant snow dunes on Antarctica. 

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.


All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA
 
except:
·       Image of Antarctic snow dunes courtesy of Mark Fahnestock, University of Maryland, College Park
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Image of clouds off Namibian coast courtesy of Chelys
·       Image of dunes in the Namib Desert courtesy of the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
·       Namibian dune photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Alcazarfr
·       Photo of the Mandara Oasis in Libya courtesy of Rudolph Baumann
·       Photo of Astrophytum ornatum cactus courtesy of Wikimedia user Stan Shebs
·       Photos of desert plants courtesy of Wikimedia user Halfalah and Dr. Eric Christian (NASA)
·       Photo of fishhook barrel cactus courtesy of Susan Lynn Peterson
·       Photo of Ubari Oasis in Libya courtesy of Wikimedia user Sfivat
·       Image of alluvial fan in Takla Makan Desert courtesy of the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
·       Photos of salt-covered croplands courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
 
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Andrea Gianopoulos
Designed by Marc Lussier

Transcript

(SPEECH)
[FUTURISTIC MUSIC]
 
(DESCRIPTION)
Sahara Desert, Northwestern Africa. When we think of deserts, we think of hot, sandy, wind-swept places with no water.
 
Many of Earth's deserts fit that description quite well. But some do not.
 
Antarctica is a polar desert. It averages only 6.5 inches of precipitation per year.
 
Polar deserts don't have sand dunes, but areas that receive some precipitation can have snow dunes.
 
Relentless winds, over hundreds of years, have created vast fields of giant snow dunes on Antarctica.
 
Some Antarctic snow dunes are more than 26 feet tall.