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Chihuahuan Desert
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Chihuahuan Desert

The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert mainly situated in much of central and southern New Mexico, Texas west of the Pecos River, the northern half of the Mexican state of Chihuahua and most of the Mexican state of Coahuila.

The terrain mostly consists of basins broken by numerous small mountain ranges.

Several larger mountain ranges including the Sacramento Mountains the Guadalupe Mountains and the Davis mountains create "islands" of cooler, rainier, microclimates within the desert and have conifer forests.

Yucca, Creosote, and Mesquite typify the plants in the Chihuahuan desert
Lechuguilla—a signature plant of the Chihuahuan desert

The Chihuahuan Desert is higher in elevation than the Sonoran Desert to the west, mostly varying from 600m to 1,675m (1,970-5,500 feet) in altitude. As a consequence it tends to have a slightly milder climate in the summer (though usually daytime June temperatures are in the range of 35-40C, or 95-104F). Winter weather varies from relatively mild to quite cold depending on altitude. Precipitation is somewhat more abundant than most of the southern Great Basin and the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, however it is still less than 10 inches (254mm) per year, with much of the rain falling during the "monsoon" of late summer. Snowfall is scant except at the higher elevations.

Vegetation

See: AgaveCreosote bush—Lechuguilla—MesquitePrickly pear—Sotol—YuccaGrasses