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Sahara Desert, Africa - World's Largest Non-Polar Desert

The Sahara Desert has a surface area of 9 million square kilometers (3.5 million square miles), and it stands as the largest non-polar desert in the world. The Sahara can be divided into three regions: The Rocky Yet Fertile Plains of the West, The Mountain Ranges of the Central Plateau, and the Arid Sand Dunes of the Libyan Desert in the East.

The central plateau region of the Sahara Desert runs for about 1600 km, about 1000 miles in a Northwest to Southeast direction. The plateau varies in height, from about 600 to 750 m (about 1900 to 2500 ft). Peaks in the several mountain ranges that rise from the plateau are from about 1800, to more than 3400 m (about 6000 to more than 11,200 ft) high.

The Sahara Desert covers huge parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia. It is one of three distinct physiographic provinces of the African massive physiographic division.

The Sahara includes many landforms such as rivers (Nile River, Senegal River, Niger River), mountain ranges (Air Mountains, Ahaggar Mountains, Saharan Atlas, and Tibesti Mountains), smaller deserts and ergs (Libyan Desert, Tenure, Egyptian Sand Sea, Qattara Depression, Erg of Bilma, Erg Chebbi), lakes (Lake Chad) and oases (Bahariya, Ghardaïa, and Timimoun).

Most world deserts are located between 30 degrees North and 30 degrees South latitude (just beyond the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn). Sub-tropical deserts lie between 15 and 30' latitude. They are centered along the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.