Mojave Desert

The Mojave or Mohave Desert occupies California and parts of Utah, Nevada and Colorado. Named after the Mojave Native Americans, it occupies over 35,000 km² in a typical Basin and Range topography.

The Mojave Desert is bounded by the Tehachapi and the San Bernadino Mountain ranges. The boundaries are quite distinct, since they are outlined by the two largest faults in California: the San Andreas and the Gorlock. The Mojave Desert receives less than 6 inches of rain a year and is generally between 3000 and 6000 feet of elevation. The Mojave Desert also contains Mojave National Preserve and the lowest, hottest place on Earth: Death Valley, where temperature normally approaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit in late July and early August.

The Mojave Desert contains a number of ghost towns, the most significant of these being the silver-mining town of Calico, California. Some of them are of the more modern variety, created when Route 66 (and the lesser-known US Highway 91) were abandoned in favor of the Interstates.

The Mojave River is an important source of water in this arid land.

The Mojave Desert is crossed by major highways Interstate 15, Interstate 40, US Highway 395.

Cities in the Mojave Desert include Victorville, Barstow, Needles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.


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