Mojave Desert (Hayikwiir Mat'aar  in Mojave) Desert Country United States States California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona Part of North American Desert ecoregion Borders on Great Basin Desert (north)
Sonoran Desert (south)
Colorado Plateau (east)
Colorado Desert (south)
River Mojave River Coordinates Lowest point Badwater Basin −282 ft (−86.0 m)) - location Death Valley - coordinates Area 25,000 sq mi (64,750 km2) Biome Desert Geology Basin and Range Province For public Mojave National Preserve, National Parks (Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Zion, and Grand Canyon)Alternate Mojave depiction with Sonoran Desert
The Mojave Desert ( // or //; High Desert) occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States. Named after the Mohave tribe of Native Americans, it displays typical basin and range topography.
The Mojave Desert's boundaries are generally defined by the presence of Yucca brevifolia (Joshua trees); considered an indicator species for this desert. The topographical boundaries include the Tehachapi together with the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges. The mountain boundaries are quite distinct since they are outlined by the two largest faults in California: the San Andreas and the Garlock. The Great Basin shrub steppe lies to the north; the warmer Sonoran Desert (the Low Desert) lies to the south and east. The desert is believed to support between 1,750 and 2,000 species of plants.
While most of the Mojave desert is sparsely populated, there are several large cities there. The largest is Las Vegas, while other large cities include Lancaster, California and Victorville, California.
The Mojave Desert receives less than 13 in (330 mm) of rain a year and is generally between 2,000 and 5,000 feet (610 and 1,500 m) in elevation. The Mojave Desert also contains the Mojave National Preserve, as well as the lowest and hottest place in North America: Death Valley, where the temperature often surpasses 120 °F (49 °C) in late July and early August. Zion National Park, in Utah, lies at the junction of the Mojave, the Great Basin Desert, and the Colorado Plateau. Despite its aridity, the Mojave (and particularly the Antelope Valley in its southwest) has long been a center of alfalfa production, fed by irrigation coming from groundwater and (in the 20th century) from the California Aqueduct.
The Mojave is a desert of temperature extremes and two distinct seasons. Winter months bring temperatures dipping to around 20 °F (−7 °C) on valley floors, and below 0 °F (−18 °C) at higher elevations. Storms moving from the Pacific Northwest can bring rain and in some places even snow — more often, the rain shadow created by the Sierra Nevada as well as mountain ranges within the desert such as the Spring Mountains bring only clouds and wind. In longer periods between storm systems, winter temperatures in valleys can approach 80 °F (27 °C).
Spring weather continues to be influenced by Pacific storms, but rainfall is more widespread and occurs less frequently after April. By early June, it is rare for another Pacific storm to have a significant impact on the region's weather, and temperatures after mid-May are normally above 90 °F (32 °C) and frequently above 100 °F (38 °C).
Summer weather is dominated by heat — temperatures on valley floors can soar above 120 °F (49 °C) and above 130 °F (54 °C) at the lowest elevations — and the presence of the North American monsoon. Low humidity, high temperatures and low pressure draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, creating thunderstorms across the desert southwest. While the Mojave does not get nearly the amount of rainfall that the Sonoran desert to the south receives, monsoonal moisture will create thunderstorms as far west as California's Central Valley from mid-June through early September.
Autumns are generally pleasant, with one to two Pacific storm systems creating regional rain events. October is one of the driest and sunniest months in the Mojave, and temperatures usually remain between 70 °F (21 °C) and 90 °F (32 °C) on the valley floors.
After temperature, wind is the most significant weather phenomenon in the Mojave. Across the region, windy days are common, and in areas near the transition between the Mojave and the California low valleys, including near Cajon Pass, Soledad Canyon and the Tehachapi areas. During the June Gloom, cooler air can be pushed out into the desert from Southern California; in Santa Ana wind events, hot air from the desert blows out into the Los Angeles basin and other coastal areas. Wind farms in these areas generate power from these winds.
The other major weather factor in the region is elevation. The highest peak within the Mojave is Charleston Peak at 11,918 feet (3,633 m), while the Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. Accordingly, temperatures and precipitation ranges wildly, in all seasons, across the region.
The Mojave Desert has not historically supported a fire regime because of low fuel loads and connectivity. However, in the last few decades, invasive annual plants (e.g., Bromus spp., Schismus spp., Brassica spp.) have facilitated fire, which has significantly altered many areas of the desert. At higher elevations, fire regimes are regular but infrequent.
Many parts of the Mojave Desert are 2,000-4,000 ft above sea-level and are 6-10°F (3-5°C) cooler than lower elevation regions, such as Baker, California, which, at an elevation of 930 ft, has a typical low-desert climate of the Mojave.
Climate data for Baker, CA Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 63.1
86.1 Average low °F (°C) 34.7
54.5 Record low °F (°C) 13
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.50
Source: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca0436 
The Mojave Desert is defined by the mountain ranges creating its xeric conditions, and it also has numerous mountain ranges within it. They often create valleys, endorheic basins, salt pans, and seasonal saline lakes when precipitation is high enough. These mountain ranges and valleys are part of the Basin and Range province and the Great Basin, a geologic area of crustal thining which pulls open valleys over millions of years. Most of the valleys are internally drained, so all precipitation that falls within the valley does not eventually flow to the ocean. Some of the Mojave (toward the east, in and around the Colorado River/Virgin River Gorge) is within a different geographic domain, the Colorado Plateau. This area is known for its incised canyons, high mesas and plateaus, and flat strata, a unique geographic locality found nowhere else on earth.
Cities and regions
While the Mojave Desert itself is sparsely populated, it has increasingly become urbanized in recent years. Las Vegas, Nevada is the largest city in the Mojave, with a metropolitan population of around 1.9 million in 2006. Lancaster is the largest California city in the desert, and over 850,000 people live in areas of the Mojave attached to the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, including Palmdale and Lancaster (referred to as the Antelope Valley); and Victorville, Apple Valley and Hesperia (referred to as the Victor Valley) attached to the Inland Empire metropolitan area, the 14th largest in the nation. Smaller cities in the Mojave include St. George; Lake Havasu City; Kingman; Laughlin; Bullhead City; and Pahrump. All have experienced rapid population growth since 1990.
Towns with fewer than 30,000 people in the Mojave include Barstow, California; Rosamond, California; Needles, California; Nipton, California; Ridgecrest, California; Mesquite, Nevada; Hurricane, Utah; Moapa Valley, Nevada; California City, California; Twentynine Palms, California; Joshua Tree, California; Pioneertown, California; Lone Pine, California; Boron, California and Mojave, California. The California portion of the desert also contains Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, noted for experimental aviation and weapons projects, and the largest Marine Corps base in the world at Twentynine Palms. Mojave airport is also home to a long term storage facility for large airplanes due to extremely dry non-corrosive weather conditions and a hard ground ideal for parking aircraft.
The Mojave Desert contains a number of ghost towns, the most significant of these being the gold-mining town of Oatman, Arizona, the silver-mining town of Calico, California, and the old railroad depot of Kelso. Some of the other ghost towns are of the more modern variety, created when U.S. Route 66 (and the lesser-known US Highway 91) were abandoned in favor of the Interstates. The Mojave Desert is crossed by major highways Interstate 15, Interstate 40, Highway 58, US Highway 395 and US Highway 95.
Other than the Colorado River on the eastern half of the Mojave, few long streams cross the desert. The Mojave River is an important source of water for the southern parts of the desert. The Amargosa River flows from the Great Basin Desert south to near Beatty, Nevada, then underground through Ash Meadows before returning to the surface near Shoshone, California and ending in Death Valley.
The Mojave Desert is also home to the Devils Playground, about 40 miles (64 km) of dunes and salt flats going in a northwest-southeasterly direction. The Devils Playground is a part of the Mojave National Preserve and is located between the town of Baker, California and Providence Mountains. The Cronese Mountains are found within the Devils Playground.
Parks and tourism
The Mojave Desert is one of the most popular tourism spots in North America, primarily because of the gambling destination of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Mojave is also known for its scenic beauty, with three national parks – Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve. Lakes Mead, Mohave, and Havasu provide water sports recreation, and vast off-road areas entice off-road enthusiasts. Hoover Dam is a popular tourist destination. Visitors get a chance to see the structure, the hydroelectric power plant, and hear the history of the dam's construction during the Great Depression.
Besides the major national parks there are other areas of identified significance and tourist interest in the desert such as the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, which spans the Mojave and Colorado Desert, and the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, 17 miles (27 km) west of Las Vegas, both of which are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Among the more popular and unique tourist attractions in the Mojave is the self described world's tallest thermometer at 134 feet (41 m) high, which is located along Interstate 15 in Baker, California. The newly-renovated Kelso Depot is the Visitor Center for the Mojave National Preserve. Nearby the massive Kelso Dunes are a popular recreation spot. Nipton, California, located on the northern entrance to the Mojave National Preserve, is a restored ghost town founded in 1885.
Several attractions and natural features are located in the Calico Mountains. Calico Ghost Town, in Yermo, is administered by San Bernardino County. The ghost town has several shops and attractions, and inspired Walter Knott to build Knott's Berry Farm. The BLM also administers Rainbow Basin and Owl Canyon, two "off-the-beaten-path" scenic attractions together north of Barstow in the Calicos. The Calico Early Man Site, in the Calico Hills east of Yermo, is believed by some archaeologists, including the late Louis Leakey, to show the earliest evidence with lithic stone tools found here of human activity in North America. The Calico Peaks scenically rise above all the destinations.
- Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
- Amargosa Opera House and Hotel
- Barstow Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum
- California Route 66 Museum
- Desert Discovery Center
- Harvey House Railroad Depot
- Kelso Depot, Restaurant and Employees Hotel
- Maturango Museum
- Mojave River Valley Museum
- Western America Railroad Museum
Parks and protected areas
- Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
- Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Mojave National Preserve
- Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
- Red Rock Canyon State Park
- Saddleback Butte State Park
Native Mojave plants and animals
- Abies concolor
- Astragalus newberryi
- Barrel Cactus
- Banana yucca
- Beaver Tail Prickly Pear
- California Fan Palm
- Camissonia campestris Mojave suncup
- Cooper dyssodia
- Death Valley monkeyflower
- Desert candle
- Desert five-spot
- Desert larkspur
- Desert Lily
- Desert rock pea
- Desert star
- Erigeron concinnus
- Ipomopsis arizonica
- Joshua Tree
- Jumping Cholla
- Larrea tridentata
- Linanthus demissus
- Lupinus arizonicus
- Mojave prickly poppy
- Mojave sage
- Mojave yucca
- Mormon Tea
- Branched Pencil Cholla
- Phacelia calthifolia
- Phacelia crenulata
- Pinus monophylla
- Prairie clover
- Senna covesii
- Teddy-bear Cholla
- Utah Juniper
- Western poison oak
- White woolly daisy
- Wide-bannered lupine
- See also: Category: Fauna of the Mojave Desert
- Burrowing Owl
- California Kingsnake
- Common Side-blotched Lizard
- Cottontail rabbit
- Desert Bighorn Sheep
- Desert Chipmunk
- Desert Horned Lizard
- Desert Iguana
- Desert kit fox
- Desert night lizard
- Desert tortoise
- Elf Owl
- Fringe-toed lizard
- Gila Monster
- Glossy Snake
- Gopher Snake
- Great Basin Collared Lizard
- Kangaroo Rat
- Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
- Long-tailed Brush Lizard
- Mojave Green Rattlesnake
- Mojave ground squirrel
- Mohave tui chub
- Mule Deer
- Red-spotted Toad
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Rosy boa
- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Zebra-tailed lizard
West Mojave Plan litigation
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages public lands in the Mojave Desert as part of its "crown jewels of the American West" National Landscape Conservation System. It has designated numerous large off-road vehicle open use areas on public lands in the western Mojave Desert, including El Mirage, Jawbone Canyon, Rasor, Spangler Hills, Stoddard Valley, Dove Spring Canyon, Dumont Dunes, and the world's largest open off-road vehicle use area, Johnson Valley. Open areas designated for unrestricted vehicle travel in the western Mojave Desert total 363,480 acres (1,471.0 km2). Several additional open areas dedicated to unrestricted vehicle travel on public lands have been designated in the northern and eastern Colorado (NECO) Desert. In 2002, BLM designated all washes in the southeastern third of the NECO planning area as also open to unrestricted vehicle travel. This was followed in 2003 by BLM expanding the off-road vehicle network in the western Mojave Desert to enhance off-road vehicle recreation opportunity. In 2004, relative to the case of Center for Biological Diversity, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Bureau of Land Management, et al., Defendants; the United States District court enjoined "all off-road vehicle use in the washes of the NECO Desert planning area pending issuance of a new biological opinion.":a. A new biological opinion was subsequently issued and BLM's open wash designation in the NECO planning area was reinstated. In 2006, several environmental groups protested an additional route network expansion designated under the West Mojave Desert (WEMO) plan.
In 2009, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled against the BLM's proposed designation of additional off-road vehicle use allowance in the western Mojave Desert. According to the ruling, the BLM violated its own regulations when it designated approximately 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of off-roading routes in 2006. According to Judge Ilston, the BLM's designation was significantly "flawed because it does not contain a reasonable range of alternatives" to limit damage to sensitive habitat. Judge Illston found that the bureau had inadequately analyzed the routes' impacts on air quality, soils, plant communities, riparian habitats, and sensitive species such as the endangered Mojave fringe-toed lizard, pointing out that the desert and its resources are "extremely fragile, easily scarred, and slowly healed."
The court also found that the BLM failed to follow route designation procedures established in the agency’s own California Desert Conservation Area Plan, which allowed visitors to create hundreds of illegal OHV routes during the past three decades. The plan normally requires the BLM to consider the impacts to private property, non-motorized recreation opportunity, and natural resources before establishing off road areas. The adopted West Mojave plan amendment was found to have violated the BLM's own manual of regulations, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The ruling was considered a success for a coalition of conservation groups, including the California Native Plant Society, Friends of Juniper Flats, the Alliance for Responsible Recreation, Community Off Road Vehicle Watch, The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society, who together initiated the legal challenge in late 2006.
In 2011, Judge Illston ruled on a remedy request submitted by the ten involved environmental organizations. BLM in this ruling was directed to complete a revised WEMO route designation complying with all laws and regulations by March, 2014. The agency is also required per this ruling to place signs on all off-road vehicle routes which are legal to use, create a monitoring plan to determine if illegal vehicle use is occurring, and provide additional enforcement to prevent illegal use.
- Amboy Crater
- Bullhead City, Arizona
- Coso Rock Art District
- Desert Region of California
- Fossil Falls
- List of California regions
- Mitchell Caverns
- Mojave Road
- Needles, California
- Pisgah Crater
- Shrub-steppe ecoregion
- Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert
- Trona Pinnacles
- Zzyzx, California
- ^ Munro, P., et al. A Mojave Dictionary Los Angeles: UCLA, 1992
- ^ Western Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency
- ^ Lynch, David K.. "Land Below Sea Level". Geology.com. http://geology.com/below-sea-level/. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- ^ Mazzucchelli, Vincent G., "The Southern Limits of the Mohave Desert, California," The California Geographer, 1967, VIII: 127-133. This study provides original maps of the Mohave and adjacent deserts in the southwestern states.
- ^ Stark, Lloyd R.; Whittemore, Alan T.. "Bryophytes From the Northern Mojave Desert". Bryophytes of Nevada On-line. State of Nevada. http://heritage.nv.gov/mosses/mojavems.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- ^ WRCC. "Western U.S. Climate Historical Summaries Weather". Desert Research Institute. http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca0436. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- ^ "Hoover Dam". General Contractor Bob Moore Construction Company. http://www.constructioncompany.com/historic-construction-projects/hoover-dam/. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- ^ Reublein, Rick. "America's first great woman popular song composer" site.
- ^ Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight (2000). North American Terrestrial Vegetation. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55986-3.
- ^ a b c Annerino, John (1999). Canyoneering: How to Explore the Canyons of the Great Southwest. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-2700-9.
- ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008) "Western poison-oak: Toxicodendron diversilobum", GlobalTwitcher, ed. Nicklas Strömberg
- ^ "Desert Lawsuit Settlement". California Desert District. Bureau of Land Management. April 27, 2007. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/lawsuit.html. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
a. "Order Re: Defendants' motion to alter or amend the judgment and plaintiffs' motion for injunctive relief" (PDF). United States District Court for the Northern District of California. December 20, 2004. http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib//blm/ca/pdf/pdfs/caso_pdfs.Par.ba8f28ba.File.pdf/Ilston.ruling.12.30.04.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- ^ a b Mojave’s Off-Highway Roads Found Illegal
- ^ a b Judge rejects federal plan for SoCal desert routes
- ^ a b c Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert, Los Angeles Times, 30 September 2009.
- ^ Danelski, David (31 January 2011). "Judge: Redo off-roading routes in Mojave Desert". Press-Enterprise. http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_offroad01.283e22a.html.
- Miller, D.M. and Amoroso, L. (2007). Preliminary surficial geology of the Dove Spring off-highway vehicle open area, Mojave Desert, California [U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1265]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
- Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Jon Mark Stewart, 1998, pg. iv
World deserts Africa Asia
- Aral Karakum
- Badain Jaran
- Dasht-e Kavir
- Dasht-e Lut
- Dasht-e Margoh
- Dasht-e Naomid
- Indus Valley
- Kyzyl Kum
- Rub' al Khali
- Russian Arctic
- Ustyurt Plateau
- Wahiba Sands
Europe North America
- Baja California
- Black Rock
- Channeled scablands
- Forty Mile
- Gran Desierto de Altar
- Great Basin
- Great Salt Lake
- Great Sandy
- Jornada del Muerto
- North American Arctic
- Painted Desert
- Red Desert
- Smoke Creek
- Tule (Arizona)
- Tule (Nevada)
Australia South America Polar regions New Zealand
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Look at other dictionaries:
Mojave Desert — desert in SE Calif.: c. 15,000 sq mi (38,850 sq km) … English World dictionary
Mojave Desert — a desert in S California: part of the Great Basin. ab. 15,000 sq. mi. (38,850 sq. km). Also, Mohave Desert. * * * or Mohave Desert Arid region, southeastern California, U.S. Occupying more than 25,000 sq mi (65,000 sq km), it extends from the… … Universalium
Mojave Desert — Mo|ja|ve Des|ert the Mojave Desert also the Mohave Desert a large desert in southern California. ↑Death Valley, the lowest point in the US, is found in the Mojave Desert … Dictionary of contemporary English
Mojave Desert — Sp Mohãvių dykumà Ap Mojave Desert L JAV (Kalifornija) … Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė
Mojave Desert — noun a desert area in southern California and western Arizona • Syn: ↑Mojave, ↑Mohave, ↑Mohave Desert • Instance Hypernyms: ↑desert • Part Holonyms: ↑California, ↑ … Useful english dictionary
Mojave Desert — or Mohave Desert geographical name desert S California SE of S end of the Sierra Nevada … New Collegiate Dictionary
Mojave Desert — Mo•ja′ve or Mohave Desert [[t]moʊˈhɑ vi[/t]] n. geg a desert in S California: part of the Great Basin. ab. 15,000 sq. mi. (38,850 sq. km) … From formal English to slang
Mojave Desert — /moʊˌhavi ˈdɛzət/ (say moh.hahvee dezuht) noun a desert in southern California; part of the Great Basin. About 38 850 km2. Also, Mohave Desert … Australian English dictionary
Mojave Desert — but Mohave for the Native American tribe and mountains in Arizona … Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors
Mojave Desert — arid reg. S California; ab. 15,000 sq. mi … Webster's Gazetteer