|Desierto de Sonora|
|Countries||United States and Mexico|
|Borders on|| Mojave Desert (north)|
Colorado Plateau (north and east)
Peninsular Ranges (west)
The Sonoran Desert (Spanish : Desierto de Sonora) is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.
Spanish, or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain, the Americas and a small part of Africa. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, Desert Southwest, or simply The Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the Madrean Region in southwestern North America, part of the Holarctic Kingdom of the northern Western Hemisphere. The desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi).
Phytogeography or botanical geography is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of plant species and their influence on the earth's surface. Phytogeography is concerned with all aspects of plant distribution, from the controls on the distribution of individual species ranges to the factors that govern the composition of entire communities and floras. Geobotany, by contrast, focuses on the geographic space's influence on plants.
The Madrean Region is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in North America, as delineated by Armen Takhtajan and Robert F. Thorne. It occupies arid or semiarid areas in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico and is bordered by the Rocky Mountain Region and North American Atlantic Region of the Holarctic Kingdom in the north and in the east, Caribbean Region of the Neotropical Kingdom in the south.
The Holarctic is the name for the biogeographic realm that encompasses the majority of habitats found throughout the northern continents of the world, combining Wallace's Palearctic zoogeographical region, consisting of North Africa and all of Eurasia, and the Nearctic zoogeographical region, consisting of North America, north of Mexico. These regions are further subdivided into a variety of ecoregions. Many ecosystems, and the animal and plant communities that depend on them, are found across multiple continents in large portions of this realm. The continuity of these ecosystems results from the shared glacial history of the realm. The floristic Boreal Kingdom corresponds to the Holarctic realm.
The Sonoran desert wraps around the northern end of the Gulf of California, from Baja California Sur (El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve in central and Pacific west coast, Central Gulf Coast subregion on east to southern tip), north through much of Baja California, excluding the central northwest mountains and Pacific west coast, through southeastern California and southwestern and southern Arizona to western and central parts of Sonora.
The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.
Baja California Sur, officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur, is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.
The El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, created in 1988, is located in Mulegé Municipality in northern Baja California Sur, at the center of the Baja California Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. With a landmass of over 9,625 square-miles, it is the largest wildlife refuge in Mexico and borders on the northern edge of the Valle de los Cirios Protected Area of Flora and Fauna.
It is bounded on the west by the Peninsular Ranges, which separate it from the California chaparral and woodlands (northwest) and Baja California Desert (Vizcaino subregion, central and southeast) ecoregions of the Pacific slope. To the north in California and northwest Arizona, the Sonoran Desert transitions to the colder-winter, higher-elevation Mojave, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau deserts.
The Peninsular Ranges are a group of mountain ranges that stretch 1,500 km (930 mi) from Southern California to the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula; they are part of the North American Coast Ranges, which run along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico. Elevations range from 500 to 10,834 feet.
The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion of lower northern, central, and southern California and northwestern Baja California (Mexico), located on the west coast of North America. It is an ecoregion of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Biome, and part of the Nearctic ecozone.
The Baja California Desert is a desert ecoregion of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. This ecoregion occupies the western portion of the Baja California peninsula, and occupies most of the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Baja California. It covers 77,700 square kilometers. The climate is dry, but the close proximity of the Pacific Ocean provides humidity and moderates the temperature. The flora mostly consists of xeric shrubs and over 500 species of recorded vascular plants.
To the east and southeast, the deserts transition to the coniferous Arizona Mountains forests and Sierra Madre and Sierra Madre Occidental pine–oak forests at higher elevations. To the south the Sonoran–Sinaloan transition subtropical dry forest is the transition zone from the Sonoran Desert to the tropical dry forests of the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
The Arizona Mountains forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of the southwest United States with a rich variety of woodland habitats and wildlife.
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a major mountain range system of the North American Cordillera, that runs northwest–southeast through northwestern and western Mexico, and along the Gulf of California. The Sierra Madre is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western 'backbone' of North America, Central America, South America and West Antarctica.
The Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests are a subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion of the Sierra Madre Occidental range from the southwest USA region to the western part of Mexico. They are home to a large number of endemic plants and important habitat for wildlife.
The desert's sub-regions include the Colorado Desert of southeastern California; and the Yuma Desert east of the north-to-south section of the Colorado River in southwest Arizona. In the 1957 publication Vegetation of the Sonoran Desert, Forrest Shreve divided the Sonoran Desert into seven regions according to characteristic vegetation: Lower Colorado Valley, Arizona Upland, Plains of Sonora, Foothills of Sonora, Central Gulf Coast, Vizcaíno Region, and Magdalena Region.Many ecologists consider Shreve's Vizcaíno and Magdalena regions, which lie on the western side of the Baja California Peninsula, to be a separate ecoregion, the Baja California Desert.
California's Colorado Desert is a part of the larger Sonoran Desert. It encompasses approximately 7 million acres (28,000 km2), including the heavily irrigated Coachella and Imperial valleys. It is home to many unique flora and fauna.
The Yuma Desert is a lower-elevation section of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States and the northwest of Mexico. It lies in the Salton basin. The desert contains areas of sparse vegetation and has notable areas of sand dunes. With an average rainfall less than 8 inches (200 mm) each year, this is among the harshest deserts in North America. Human presence is sparse throughout, the largest city being Yuma, Arizona, on the Colorado River and the border of California.
The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.
Within the southern Sonoran Desert in Mexico is found the Gran Desierto de Altar, with the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar ('Pinacate National Park' in Mexico), extending 2,000 square kilometers (770 sq mi) of desert and mountainous regions. The Pinacate National Park includes the only active erg dune region in North America. The nearest city to the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar is Puerto Peñasco ('Rocky Point') in the state of Sonora, Mexico.
Sonoran Desert sub-regions include:
350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, and more than 2,000 native plant species.The Sonoran Desert area southeast of Tucson and near the Mexican border is vital habitat for the only population of jaguars living within the United States. The Colorado River Delta was once an ecological hotspot within the Sonoran desert due to the Colorado river in this otherwise dry area, but the delta has been greatly reduced in extent due to the damming and use of the river upstream. Species that have higher heat tolerance are able to thrive in the conditions of the Sonoran Desert. One such insect species that has evolved a means to thrive in this environment is Drosophila mettleri, a Sonoran Desert fly. This fly contains a specialized p450 detoxification system that enables it to nest in the cool region of exudate moistened soil. Thus, the fly is one of few that can tolerate the high Desert temperatures and successfully reproduce.
Many plants not only survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. Many have evolved to have specialized adaptations to the desert climate. The Sonoran Desert's biseasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world.The Sonoran Desert includes plant genera and species from the agave family, palm family, cactus family, legume family, and numerous others.
The Sonoran is the only place in the world where the famous saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) grows in the wild.Cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.), beavertail (Opuntia basilaris), hedgehog (Echinocereus spp.), fishhook (Ferocactus wislizeni), prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), nightblooming cereus (Peniocereus spp.), and organ pipe (Stenocereus thurberi) are other taxa of cacti found here. Cactus provides food and homes to many desert mammals and birds, with showy flowers in reds, pinks, yellows, and whites, blooming most commonly from late March through June, depending on the species and seasonal temperatures.
Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and bur sage (Ambrosia dumosa) dominate valley floors. Indigo bush (Psorothamnus fremontii) and Mormon tea are other shrubs that may be found. Wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert include desert sand verbena (Abronia villosa), desert sunflower (Geraea canescens), and evening primroses.
Ascending from the valley up bajadas, various subtrees such as velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina), palo verde (Parkinsonia florida), desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), desert willow (Chilopsis linearis ssp. arcuata), and crucifixion thorn (Canotia holacantha) are common, as well as multi-stemmed ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). Shrubs found at higher elevations include whitethorn acacia (Acacia constricta), fairy duster, and jojoba. In the desert subdivisions found on Baja California, cardon cactus, elephant tree, and boojum tree occur.
The California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) is found in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, the only native palm in California, among many other introduced Arecaceae genera and species. It is found at spring-fed oases, such as in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
The Sonoran Desert is home to the cultures of over[ quantify ] 17 contemporary Native American tribes, with settlements at American Indian reservations in California and Arizona, as well as populations in Mexico.
The largest city in the Sonoran Desert is Phoenix, Arizona, with a 2017 metropolitan population of about 4.7 million. 4,000 square meters (1 acre) per hour.Located on the Salt River in central Arizona, it is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. In 2007 in the Phoenix area, desert was losing ground to urban sprawl at a rate of approximately
The next largest cities are Tucson, in southern Arizona, with a metro area population of just over 1 million,and Mexicali, Baja California, whose municipality also has a population of around 900,000. The municipality of Hermosillo, Sonora, has a population of around 700,000. Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, in the southern part of the desert, has a population of 375,800.
The Coachella Valley, located in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, has a population of 365,000. Many famous Southern California desert resort cities such as Palm Springs and Palm Desert are located here.
During the winter months, from November to April, the daytime temperatures in the Coachella Valley range from 70 °F (21 °C) to 90 °F (32 °C) and corresponding nighttime lows range from 46 °F (8 °C) to 68 °F (20 °C) making it a popular winter resort destination. Due to its warm year-round climate citrus and subtropical fruits such as mangoes, figs, and dates are grown in the Coachella Valley and adjacent Imperial Valley. Imperial Valley has a total population of about 188,000 and has a similar climate to that of the Coachella Valley. Other cities include Indio, Coachella, Calexico, El Centro, Imperial, Palm Desert and Blythe.
Straddling the US-Mexican border with low levels of human-installed security, the Sonoran desert is a route for unauthorized entry across the border. The harsh conditions mean that the 3-5-day march, usually moving at night to minimize exposure to the heat, sometimes results in death.
There are many National Parks and Monuments; federal and state nature reserves and wildlife refuges; state, county, and city parks; and government or nonprofit group operated natural history museums, science research institutes, and botanical gardens and desert landscape gardens.
The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is a 1-acre family-owned botanical garden specializing in cacti and other desert plants, located at 1701 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, United States. It is in the Colorado Desert ecosystem.
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, formerly the Living Desert Museum, is a desert botanical garden and a zoo located in Palm Desert, Riverside County, California, United States. They are in the Sonoran Desert of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mountains foothills near Palm Springs, California.
The Lechuguilla Desert is a small desert located in southwestern Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico border. It is considered to be part of the Lower Colorado Valley region of the Sonoran Desert. It lies in a north-south direction between the Gila Mountains and the Cabeza Prieta Mountains, and almost entirely in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range. The desert is named after the Lechuguilla plant, known scientifically as Agave lecheguilla which according to the Wikipedia entry for that occurs exclusively in the Chihuahuan desert many hundreds of miles to the east. The desert is also on the north border of the Gran Desierto de Altar of Sonora, Mexico.
Aridoamerica denotes an ecological region spanning Mexico and the Southwest United States, defined by the presence of the culturally significant staple foodstuff Phaseolus acutifolius, a drought-resistant bean. Its dry, arid climate and geography stand in contrast to the verdant Mesoamerica of present-day central Mexico into Central America to the south and east, and the higher, milder "island" of Oasisamerica to the north. Aridoamerica overlaps with both.
The Gran Desierto de Altar is one of the major sub-ecoregions of the Sonoran Desert, located in the State of Sonora, in northwest Mexico. It includes the only active erg dune region in North America. The desert extends across much of the northern border of the Gulf of California, spanning more than 100 kilometres (62 mi) east to west and over 50 kilometres (31 mi) north to south. It constitutes the largest continuous wilderness area within the Sonoran Desert.
Psorothamnus spinosus, known as the smokethorn, smoketree, smoke tree, smokethorn dalea, and corona de Cristo, is a perennial legume tree of the deserts in North America.
Condalia globosa, also called bitter condalia, or bitter snakewood, is a perennial shrub, small tree of the family Rhamnaceae.
Ferocactus cylindraceus is a species of barrel cactus which is known by several common names, including California barrel cactus, Desert barrel cactus, and miner's compass. It was first described by George Engelmann in 1853.
Bursera microphylla is a North American species of tree in the frankincense family in the soapwood order. Bursera microphylla, known by the common name elephant tree in English or 'torote' in Spanish, is a tree in genus Bursera. It grows into a distinctive sculptural form, with a thickened, water-storing or caudiciform trunk. It is found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.
The Lower Colorado River Valley ("LCRV") is the river region of the lower Colorado River of the southwestern United States in North America that rises in the Rocky Mountains and has its outlet at the Colorado River Delta in the northern Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico, between the states of Baja California and Sonora. This north–south stretch of the Colorado River forms the border between the U.S. states of California/Arizona and Nevada/Arizona, and between the Mexican states of Baja California/Sonora.
The Tinajas Altas Mountains are an extremely arid northwest-southeast trending mountain range in southern Yuma County, Arizona, approximately 35 mi southeast of Yuma, Arizona. The southern end of the range extends approximately one mile into the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora on the northern perimeter of the Gran Desierto de Altar. The range is about 22 mi in length and about 4 mi wide at its widest point. The highpoint of the range is unnamed and is 2,766 feet above sea level and is located at 32°16'26"N, 114°02'48"W. Aside from the portion of the range in Mexico, the entirety of the range lies within the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range. They lie at the heart of the traditional homeland of the Hia C-eḍ O'odham people.
The Sierra Pinta or Sierra Pintas are a narrow remote block faulted northwest-southeast trending mountain range, about 22 miles (35 km) long located in southwestern Arizona in the arid northwestern Sonoran Desert, just north of the Pinacate Reserve of northern Sonora, Mexico. The mountains derive their name from visitor descriptions of its multicolored hues when viewed at sunrise and sunset.
The Pinacate Peaks are a group of volcanic peaks and cinder cones located mostly in the Mexican state of Sonora along the international border adjacent to the U.S. state of Arizona, surrounded by the vast sand dune field of the Gran Desierto de Altar, at the desert's southeast.
Puerto Peñasco Municipality is a municipality in Sonora in north-western Mexico. As of 2015, the municipality had a total population of 62,177 inhabitants. The only locality with a significant population is the municipal seat, also named Puerto Peñasco, which contains almost 99% of the municipality's population.
El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, is a biosphere reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site managed by the Federal government of Mexico, specifically by Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, in collaboration with state government of Sonora and the Tohono O'odham.
Flora of the Colorado Desert, located in Southern California. The Colorado Desert is a sub-region in the Sonoran Desert ecoregion of southwestern North America. It is also known as the Low Desert, in contrast to the higher elevation Mojave Desert or High Desert, to its north.
Alto Golfo de California Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in the state of Sonora in extreme northwestern Mexico. The 1,652,110 hectares (6,378.8 sq mi) reserve comprises the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto reserve and the Bahia Adair on the Gulf of California border. Geological volcanic formations with craters, dunes, oasis and beaches, and the diversity of plant associations determine its special landscape. The reserve was established in 1993 by the President of Mexico as Reserva de la Biosfera del Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Río Colorado and extended in 1995.
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