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In physical geography, a form of landscape that receives little or no precipitation is called a desert. As a consequence, deserts have a reputation for having little life in them. Compared to other regions this is often true, but upon closer examination, deserts often hold a wealth of life that usually remains hidden to preserve moisture.

There are different forms of deserts. The desert is often composed of sand; it may also consist mainly of rocky terrain or salt flats. Some places are deserts even though they are covered in snow. This remarkable fact comes about because such locations don't receive precipitation, but snow does blow in from elsewhere.

Non-polar deserts are hot because they have little water. Water has a cooling effect in environments where it is plentiful. In many other parts of the world deserts are created by the rain shadow effect[?] in which air masses lose some of their water whenever they move over a mountain range. (Katabatic[?] or Fohn[?] winds)

See also Deserts and Xeric Shrublands.

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See also Australian Outback, oasis, desert survival, desert varnish, Blowout, Badland

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