\n "A quick reference to the planet's driest regions." \n Deserts is an abundantly illustrated handbook that examines the fascinating eco-systems of 49 major deserts. Studying the history of deserts improves our understanding of the climatic conditions that create hostile environments. Deserts are located on every continent -- including Antarctica. The book covers each with concise descriptions and quick-reference symbols and charts that display vital statistics such as average rainfall and temperatures, and expanse. \n Deserts are defined by their aridity and this lack of water results in conditions that are hostile to flora and fauna, prevent soil, and cause extreme swings of temperature. \n For instance, equatorial deserts can experience drops from 122°F during the day to less than -13°F at night. \n Some deserts are very old -- the Kalahari has existed for 65-135 million years. Others are relative newcomers -- the Sahara was Africa's "Land-o-Lakes" until the last Ice Age. \n Seven North American deserts are featured: Sonora, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, Gran Desierto de Altar, Mojave, Great Salt Lake, and Great Basin.