Key Facts about Thar Desert

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There is growing evidence to suggest that the Thar Desert could undergo a surprising future transformation: it could become greener.

About Thar Desert

  • The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is an arid region of rolling sand hills on the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is one of the largest subtropical deserts in the world.
  • Location: It is located partly in northwestern India, and partly in eastern Pakistan.
  • It extends across the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Haryana in India, and the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan
  • It covers more than 77,000 square miles (200,000 sq. km).
  • The majority of the Thar desert is in India (15 percent lies in Pakistan).
  • It is bordered by the irrigated Indus River plain to the west, the Punjab Plain to the north and northeast, the Aravalli Range to the southeast, and the Rann of Kachchh to the south.
  • The desert is separated from the Greater Rann of Kutch to the west by the low-lying marshy lands of the Luni River.
  • Climate:
    • The desert features a hot and arid climate, with temperatures often reaching over 50 degrees Celsius during the day and dropping significantly at night
    • Rainfall is scarce, with the majority of the desert receiving less than 50mm of rain annually.
  • Landscape:
    • It is characterized by a vast and rugged landscape, with a variety of different terrains. 
    • It is known for its vast expanses of rolling dunes, which can reach heights of up to 200 meters. 
    • The desert is also characterized by rocky outcroppings, which are clusters of large rocks that rise from the desert floor. 
    • It is also home to large salt flats, which are areas of flat land covered with a layer of salt.
    • Large, flat plains, which are covered with a thin layer of soil and vegetation, are also found here.
  • Mineral Resource:
    • It is rich in a variety of minerals, including one of the largest coal reserves in India.
    • It is also a major source of gypsum, Limestone, salt, Bauxite, silica, etc.

Q1: What is a Dune?

A dune is a mound of sand that is formed by the wind, usually along the beach or in a desert. Dunes form when wind blows sand into a sheltered area behind an obstacle.

Source: Shifting sands: why the Thar desert on the borders of India and Pakistan is getting greener