Largest Deserts in the World List, Name, Location, Type, Area

Largest Deserts in the World

The Largest Desert in the World in terms of size, the Antarctic Desert is the biggest desert on earth. The two largest deserts on the planet are located in polar regions. The Antarctic Polar Desert spans the continent of Antarctica and is approximately 5.5 million square miles in size. The Arctic Polar Desert is the world’s second-largest desert. Parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia are included in its territory. It has a land area of approximately 5.4 million square miles.

For the General Awareness component of many competitive exams like NDA, CDA, SSC CGL &UPSC, the Largest deserts in the world is an important topic.

What is a Desert?

A Desert refers to an area of terrain that is dry and receives little precipitation. Deserts are defined as regions with less than 10 inches (250 millimetres) of annual precipitation.

List of Largest Deserts in the World

Deserts cover roughly one-third of the Earth’s land surface. Deserts are classified into four types based on their geographic location: polar deserts, subtropical deserts, cold winter deserts, and cool coastal deserts. The table below lists the 25 Largest Deserts in the World along with their dimensions, types, and locations.

List of Largest Deserts in the World
Important DesertsType of DesertLocationArea (sq mi)Area (km²)
AntarcticaPolar ice and tundraAntarctica550000014000000
ArcticPolar ice and tundraNorthern Europe (Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden)

Northern America (Alaska, Canada and Greenland)

Eastern Europe (European Russia)

North Asia (Siberia)

SaharaSubtropicalWest Africa (Mali, Mauritania and Niger)

North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia)

Middle Africa (Chad)

East Africa (Eritrea)

Australian DesertSubtropicalAustralia10000002700000
Arabian DesertSubtropicalWestern Asia (Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)9000002,330,000
Gobi DesertCold WinterEast Asia (China and Mongolia)5000001295000
Kalahari DesertSubtropicalMiddle Africa (Angola)

Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia and South Africa)

Patagonian DesertCold WinterSouth America (Argentina and Chile)200000620000
Syrian DesertSubtropicalWestern Asia (Iraq, Jordan, and Syria)200000520,000
Great BasinCold WinterUnited States190000492,000
Chihuahuan DesertSubtropicalCentral America (Mexico)

Northern America (United States)

Karakum DesertCold WinterTurkmenistan135000350,000
Colorado PlateauCold WinterUnited States130000337,000
Sonoran DesertSubtropicalCentral America (Mexico)

Northern America (United States)

Kyzylkum DesertCold WinterCentral Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)115000300,000
Taklamakan DesertCold WinterChina105000270000
Thar DesertSubtropicalIndian Subcontinent (India and Pakistan)77000200,000
Dasht-e MargoSubtropicalAfghanistan58000150000
Registan DesertSubtropicalAfghanistan56400146000
Atacama DesertMild CoastalSouth America (Chile and Peru)54000140,000
Mojave DesertSubtropicalUnited States48000124,000
Columbia BasinCold WinterUnited States3210083,100
Namib DesertCool CoastalSouthern Africa (Namibia)

Middle Africa (Angola)

Dasht-e KavirSubtropicalIran3000077,000
Dasht-e LootSubtropicalIran2010052,000

Major Largest Deserts in the World

The world has many deserts, ranging from small and isolated to vast and sprawling. The major Deserts of the World are the Antarctica Desert, Arctic Desert, Sahara and so on. Here are some of the world’s major deserts:


The largest desert in the world is Antarctica, which is around 14 million square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles) in size. It is a desert, which is defined as a region with little or no precipitation, despite being coated in ice and snow. The Antarctic Desert is found on the continent of Antarctica in the southern hemisphere.

Arctic Desert

With over 13.7 million square kilometres, the Arctic Desert is the second-largest desert in the world. It is mostly in Canada, Greenland, and Russia, which make up the northernmost region on the planet.

Sahara Desert (Largest Hot Desert in the World)

The Sahara Desert is the Largest Hot desert in the world. With a surface area of approximately 9 million square kilometres, the Sahara is the third-biggest desert overall and the largest hot desert in the world. From the Atlantic to the Red Sea, it is situated in northern Africa.

Arabian Desert

With over 2.3 million square kilometres, the Arabian Desert is the fourth-largest desert in the world. It is mostly in Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula.

Gobi Desert

With a surface area of over 1.3 million square kilometres, the Gobi Desert is the fifth-largest desert in the world. It can be found in southern Mongolia, as well as northern and western China.

Largest Desert in India

Deserts of India: The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert and India’s largest desert, serves as a physical border between Pakistan and India.

The Great Indian Desert, also known as the Thar Desert, is a large and dry region in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. It forms a natural border between India and Pakistan and covers an area of approximately 200,000 km2. The Thar Desert is located in India, with the remaining 15% in Pakistan. The Thar Desert accounts for approximately 4.56% of India’s total land area. The Great Indian Desert is comprised of the Rann of Kutch on the western coast, the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the northwest, Punjab and Haryana to the north, and the Aravali Hills in the northeast.

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