THE SONORAN DESERT, an arid region of western North America, covers an area of 120,000 square mi (311,000 square km) in southwestern ARIZONA and southeastern CALIFORNIA, most of Baja California, and the western half of the state of Sonora, MEXICO.
It is one of the largest and hottest deserts in North America and has two primary subdivisions, the Colorado and Yuma deserts.
A bimodal rainfall pattern produces a high biological diversity.
The Colorado Desert, forming the western part of the Sonoran Desert, is closer to the source of Pacific storms and is noted for spectacular spring flowering of ephemerals when there is winter-spring rainfall.
Pacific winter storms nourish many West Coast annuals (poppies and lupines), and summer monsoons host both annuals and woody plants originating from the south.
Trees are usually well developed on the desert ranges and slopes; abundant on well-drained soils are little-leaf paloverdes, desert ironwoods, catclaw, and saguaro.
The understory consists of three to five layers of smaller woody shrubs.
Tall cholla and saguaro cacti occur in a multitude of species, and the endangered acuna pineapple cactus is also present.
Alluvial lowlands host communities of desert saltbush, wolfberry, and bursage.
Creosote and bursage plant communities are common on coarser soils.
Modern irrigation has created fertile agricultural areas, including the Coachella and Imperial valleys of California.
More than 2,500 species of flora support a wide variety of fauna, including the endangered Sonoran pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep (especially in the Maricopa Mountains area), and other mammalian species such as mule deer, javelina, mountain lion, gray fox, and bobcat.
More than 200 species of birds are found, including numerous raptors and owls, particularly elf and western screech owls.
A diverse array of reptiles and amphibians, including the Sonoran desert tortoise and the red-backed whiptail, are also supported.
The region contains numerous significant archaeological and historic sites, including petroglyphs (rock art), lithic quarries, and permanent habitation sites, particularly along the bajadas of the Table Top Mountains.
Vekol Wash was an important prehistoric travel and trade corridor between the Hohokam and tribes located in what is now Mexico.
Villages were occupied by the ancestors of today's O'odham, Quechan, Cocopah, Maricopa, and other tribes.
Among the historic trails are the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the Mormon Battalion Trail, and the Butterfield Overland Stage Route.
The Sonoran Desert National Monument was designated by President Bill Clinton in January 2001.
The saguaro cactus forests within the monument are regarded as a national treasure, rivaling those within the Saguaro National Park.
- A tourist has robbed a Thai bank to buy a ticket home
"The Australian tourist had a great time in Thailand, as we can see. He has been staying in the South-East Asian country this man realized that he had spent all his money and now cannot get home.
In order to buy an air ticket he didn’t have a better idea, but to go and rob a bank. The Australian broke into one of the departments in the center of Bangkok city wearing a mask and with a gun in his hands, which then turned out to be a toy gun.
23-year old tourist got 170,000 baht from the tellers, but didn’t manage to hide: he was quickly arrested by the police. Being questioned the criminal explained that he took the extreme measure because he couldn’t fly back home.
Thai police was not affected by his story; and by the local law the thief faces up to 10 years jail. "
- The British avoid visiting Islamic countries
"The research has revealed that 75% of British citizens are not eager to go on vacation to any Islamic countries due to the possible terror acts.
It is reported that Canary Islands and North Africa were always the most visited places by the British. However, following the terror acts in Tunis only one British out of four would prefer to go there. 54% of the surveyed stated that safety should be in the first place when traveling and 33% said that doubt about traveling to the countries which are considered to be dangerous for tourists. That is why in the upcoming winter season the British will likely go to Western European countries and the USA rather than visiting Tunis, Morocco, Egypt, Greece and Thailand. "