Deserts! They are fascinating. They are intriguing. They are harsh and unforgiving. We have done a number of articles on some great deserts of this world such as the Antarctica, Sahara, Arabian etc.

Today, we bring to you two more – the Great Victoria Desert and the Arctic Desert. This cheat-sheet of Great Victoria Desert facts and Arctic Desert facts is a must have for your school homework.

So, without further ado, let us begin our journey of learning. Buckle up!

The Great Victoria Desert: 1-32

Located in Australia, the Great Victoria Desert is a part of the the Australian Deserts or the Deserts of Australia. Of course, it is a standalone desert and in terms of size, it is quite big.

Let us find out what features this desert has to offer to us. Ready?

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 1-5

1. Great Victoria Desert is the 7th largest desert in the world and the largest desert in Australia. Great Victoria Desert is a subtropical desert.

great victoria desert facts and arctic desert facts

2. The Great Victoria Desert is a bioregion according to both World Wildlife Fund and Interim Biogeographic Regionalization for Australia (developed by the government of Australia). It is present in parts of western and south Australia.

3. The desert is more than 430 miles or 700 kilometers wide and has an area of 134,653 square miles or 348,750 square kilometers.

4. The desert is spreads across Eastern Goldfields (western Australia) to Gawler Ranges (south Australia).

5. Great Victoria Desert consists of grassland plains, salt lakes, sandhills, desert pavement or gibber plains (pebbles packed closely on the surface).

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 6-10

6. The desert is surrounded by Western Australia Mallee Shrub ecoregion, Little Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert, Central Ranges xeric scrub, Sturt Stony & Tirari Deserts, and the Nullarbor Plains.

7. Western Australia Mallee Shrub ecoregion is present towards the west side. It is a semi-arid area. Eucalyptus, Acacia, Hakea etc. are the dominant genera of this ecoregion.

8. Little Sandy Desert is present towards the northwest side of Great Victoria Desert.

9. Gibson Desert – located towards the north side of the Great Victoria Desert.

10. Central Ranges xeric scrub – present towards the north side. It is dry but receives precipitation in summers as well as winters.

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 11-15

11. Sturt Stony and Tirari Deserts are seen towards the east side of the Great Victoria Desert.

12. Nullarbor Plains are present towards the south side and separates the Great Victoria Desert from the Southern Ocean.

13. Annual precipitation received by Great Victoria Desert on an average is nearly 250 millimeters. But the rainfall is irregular.

14. 15 to 20 thunderstorms occur in the Great Victoria Desert every year.

15. The temperature is not as extreme as that of Sahara Desert. It is around 32 to 40 degrees Celsius in the summers.

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 16-20

16. In the winters, the temperature may dip to 18 to 23 degrees Celsius.

17. The overall climate of the Great Victoria Desert is dry and hot. There is low precipitation and high evaporation (double that of precipitation).

18. Inner regions of the Great Victoria Desert are harsher than the outer ones.

By Unknown – Project Gutenberg eBook 4947 Australia Twice Traversed, Illustrated, Public Domain, Link

19. One of the most interesting of Great Victoria Desert facts is that Ernest Giles, a British explorer, was the first person to cross the Great Victoria Desert. He achieved this feat in 1875.

20. Ernest Giles was the man who named it after the then ruling head of Britain, Queen Victoria.

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 21-25

21. David Lindsey crossed the desert from north to south in 1891.

22. Certain parts of the desert is protected such as the Mamungari Conservation Park (south Australia) – an area of the desert which is considered as one of the 14 World Biosphere Reserves found in Australia.

great victoria desert facts and arctic desert facts
By Wayne England – originally posted to Flickr as Red Earth Desert, CC BY 2.0, Link

23. However, parts of the desert (Emu and Maralinga) is contaminated with plutonium because the Britishers used those areas for the nuclear weapons trials in early 1950’s and 1960’s.

24. A small part of the desert is a woodland and grassland called Steppe.

25. Plants of the genera Acacia and Eucalyptus dominate the Steppes and grasses of spinifex genera are widely seen in the desert.

Great Victoria Desert Facts: 26-32

26. There are very few big animals in the Great Victoria Desert. Small animals like great desert skink, sandhill dunnart, water-holding frog, southern marsupial mole, crest-tailed mulgara etc. are seen.

great victoria desert facts

27. In 2007, Central Ranges Taipan (a species of taipan) was discovered in Great Victoria Desert.

28. Birds include malleefowl (Manungari Conservation Park) and chestnut-breasted whiteface (seen in the eastern side of the desert).

great victoria desert facts and arctic desert facts
By Henry Whitehead – Original photograph, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

29. Dingo, sand goanna and perentie are the major predators in this ecosystem.

30. Most of the desert is inhabited by the indigenous groups such as Mirning, Pitjantjatjara, Kogara etc. Their population is increasing day by day.

31. Though they are isolated from the other big cities because of the desert, there are two highways which connect the regions where these aboriginals live.

32. The highways are Anne Beadell Highway and Connie Sue Highway.

Bonus Great Victoria Desert Facts

The British conducted 9 atomic bomb explosions in this desert between the years 1953 and 1957.

The Great Victoria Desert is crossed by the famous Laverton-Warburton Misson Track. The track links mission station located in Warburton Range (located in Western Australia) and the Laverton located in the southwest.

The desert is10 threatened mammal species and 4 threatened bird species (you can find 15 bird species in the desert).

One of the most interesting of Great Victoria Desert facts is that the aboriginals have been living in the Great Victorian Desert for more than 24,000 years.

David Lindsey (the person who crossed Great Victoria Desert from north to south) and his team decided to celebrate their success in 1891. They mixed lime juice, water and whiskey in galvanized tin cans and drank. They all suffered with zinc poisoning.

It is the largest desert in Australia. Australia has 10 deserts in total with second largest being the Great Sandy Desert.

The Arctic Desert: 33-75

Arctic Desert is a shrinking polar desert and guess what? We humans are the culprits! Yes, yes! We are a race that has wreaked havoc on this planet. In case you don’t know, we are also responsible for several animal species.

Well, while we should resent our deeds, we are not here to discuss why we are bad and what we have done. We are here to learn Arctic Desert facts. Let us do exactly that!

Do you know which the largest cold desert or largest polar desert in world? It is the Antarctica. Learn about this icy and cold desert with a massive 225 facts cheat-sheet.

Arctic Desert Facts: 33-37

arctic desert and great victoria desert facts

33. The desert consists of the Arctic Ocean, northern part of Canada, Alaska (USA), Finland, Iceland, Russia, Greenland, Norway and Sweden. The region is either covered with snow or ice all the time.

34. The seas of this region have seasonal sea ice. The word Arctic originates from ‘arktikos’, a Greek word, which means northern or near the bear. 

35. This name mentions either the Ursa Minor or the little bear (has Pole Star in it) or the Ursa Major or the Great Bear.

36. So how do you know which area falls under the Arctic? There are two ways of doing it which are:

The area which starts north of the Arctic Circle at a latitude of 66° 33’N is the arctic region. This area experiences polar night and midnight sun.

The area which experiences below 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the month of July (warmest month).

37. The area of the desert is nearly 62,300 square miles.

Arctic Desert Facts: 38-42

38. The Arctic region consists of islands, mountains, flat areas and glaciers.

39. The mountains are similar to the mountains of the Central America.

40. There are many seas and water bodies in this region like Kara Sea, Barents Sea, Arctic Ocean, Baffin Bay, Bering Strait etc.

41. Some of the islands present are Jan Mayen (Norway), Diomede Island (Big is of Russia) and Diomede Island (Small is of USA), Aleutian Islands etc. 

42. The climate in this region is mostly cold even in summers. The precipitation is extremely low and is in the form of snow.

Arctic Desert Facts: 43-47

43. The precipitation is mostly below 20 inches or 50 centimeters in most of the area.

44. There appears to be continuous snowfall in this region but it is the work of high winds on snow which is on the ground.

45. On an average, winter temperatures can be –40 degrees Celsius or –40 degrees Fahrenheit.

46. Coastal areas are a bit warmer and experience little bit more snowfall than the interior areas which are extremely dry and cold.

47. Though the climate is not friendly, there are nearly 700 flora and 120 fauna species in the Arctic Desert.

Arctic Desert Facts: 48-52

48. Even then, only 5% of the arctic land is covered by the plants. The flora and fauna have adapted to live in these kinds of harsh conditions.

49. Plants usually don’t have leaves, have succulent or fleshy stem and have extremely well-developed root system.

50. The animals have thick fur, small extremities like nose, ears and usually go into hibernation (winter sleeping) to avoid the loss of energy.

51. Graminoids, lichens, herbs, dwarf shrubs, mosses etc. are the plant lifeforms that can be seen in the Arctic region.

52. They form tundra (a biome where the temperatures are so low that plant life cannot grow properly).

Arctic Desert Facts: 53-57

53. The growth of plants in the northern areas of arctic region decreases because there is decrease in warmth.

54. There are no trees in Arctic region, but as mentioned earlier there are few shrubs, lichens etc. that grow during the cold summers.

55. Shrubs can reach a height of 6 feet 7 inches or 2 meters, and at some places, lichens, mosses etc. form thick layers.

56. In the coldest areas, only grasses, ferns, mosses and lichens are found scattered here and there.

arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts
By Argus fin – Own work, Public Domain, Link
arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts
By Quartl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts
By Are G Nilsen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

57. Lemming, muskox, Arctic hare, caribou etc. are the herbivores present in this desert.

Arctic Desert Facts: 58-62

58. Wolf, grizzly bears, snowy owl and Arctic fox are the predators found in the Arctic Desert.

59. Polar bear prefers to hunt marine animals (fish include salmon, trout, cod etc.).

60. Marine mammals like seals, killer whales, narwhals, belugas and walruses are present.

arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts
By Britta from San Francisco Bay Area, California – Rock sandpiper, CC BY 2.0, Link

61. Birds like ravens, loons, sandpipers, falcons, snow birds, terns and various species of seagulls are present. Most of them are migratory birds.

62. Mosquitoes, grasshoppers, blackflies, Arctic bumble bees etc. are also present in the Arctic Desert.

Arctic Desert Facts: 63-67

63. As we have mentioned in the article related to Arctic Ocean, the Arctic region has a lot of natural resources like natural gas, fresh water, oil, minerals, etc.

64. Tourism industry is also gaining pace in this area.

65. By far the most famous inhabitants of the Arctic Desert are the Inuit. They are informally known as Eskimos.

arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts

66. They build igloos during the winters. Igloos are small huts made of snow. During summer months, the snow melts and hence, they live in tents made of animal skin.

67. Inuit people are dependent on the animals for their clothes and food.

Arctic Desert Facts: 68-72

68. They use animal skin and fur to make clothes and boots. They are usually seen with parkas (an outer coat made of animal fur to protect from the cold).

69. They hunt marine animals like fish, seals, whales and walruses. They use dog-sleds to travel.

70. These dog-sleds are also made of animal bones and skin. They are pulled by huskies.

71. In waters, they use small vessels called as Kayaks which can take only one or two people. For transporting animals, many people etc. they use large vessels called Umiaqs.

72. The word Inuit means the people in the Inuktitut language. Dancing, story-telling are few of their pastimes.

Arctic Desert Facts: 73-77

arctic desert facts and great victoria desert facts

73. Inuit community is called with different names in different countries. In Russia, they are called Yupik, in Greenland they are called as Inupiat or Yupik.

74. Irrespective of what name they are called with and in whichever country these Inuit people live in, they have the same language, culture, norms etc.

75. Global warming has impacted the Arctic region in a negative way. There is loss of sea ice and melting of ice sheet of Greenland because of the increase in temperature.

76. The methane clathrates are melting down and releasing a lot of methane, which in turn is helping in increasing the global warming.

77. Global warming and climate change are having negative influence on the desert’s ecosystem and plant and animal life equally. It is even the reason for Arctic Desert to shrink.

Sources for Great Victoria Desert Facts: 1, 2, 3

Sources for Arctic Desert Facts: 1, 2, 3

Categorized in: