Saturday, May 31, 2008

Desert Series #1 - The Vizcaino Desert

The Vizcaino Desert is a primary desert region of Baja located on the western side of the Peninsula. According to Wikipedia (online encyclopedia), "Deserts are defined as areas that receive an average precipitation of less than 250mm (10in). They take up one-third of the Earth’s land surface". Annual rainfall in this area is approximately 5cm per year (2 inches) - with additional moisture from condensation of Pacific Ocean breezes.

The Vizcaino Desert is just south of Vizcaino Bay and encompasses the coast from Barra San Juan to El Rosario and includes the following mountain ranges: Cerro Matomí, Sierra San Luis, Sierra San Borja, Volcán Las Tres Vírgenes, and Sierra San Francisco. It, and Vizcaino Bay that is adjacent to the desert areas, are named after the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino. A map of the area can be viewed here: Desert Ecology - Baja California Deserts. It is a minor portion of the larger Sonoran Desert that encompasses areas in Arizona, California, and Sonora, Mexico as well.

The vegetation of this desert area includes the following types of cacti: senita, barrel, candelbra, cholla and sour pitaya. It also contains boojum, elephant trees and agaves stem or leaf succulents and the desert shrubs slipper plant and ball moss.

Photos and more information on Ocean Oasis' online Field Guide - Vizcaino Desert.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation Guide to the Baja California Peninsula

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