Vol 5 Life in the Desert ... Introduction ... Desert sculpture
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Introduction

Desert sculpture

Desert landscapes are shaped by the power of wind and water acting over millions of years.
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There are many different types of desert landscape including seas of sand; vast rocky plains; huge areas of sparse shrub vegetation; dense cactus forests; salt flats; tree-lined oases; deep canyons, salt lakes and barren mountainous regions. Desert scenery can be spectacular: for millions of years the power of wind and water have eroded and changed the desert landscape.

Wind blasts sand and gravel against rocks, sculpturing impressive rock and sandstone formations; it also builds and re-shapes huge sand dunes. Freak torrential downpours turn dry beds into raging torrents capable of moving anything in its path and depositing them elsewhere. Water erodes mountain slopes, and cuts out deep gorges. Daily extremes of hot and cold temperatures cause rocks to expand when hot and contract when cold. This weathering fractures rocks and sometimes shatters them to pieces.