Lowest point elevation 600 m (1,969 ft) varying from 600-1,675 m (1,969-5,495 ft) in altitude
area 362,600 km2 (140,001 sq mi)
terrain mainly consists of basins broken by numerous small mountain ranges.
everal larger mountain ranges include the Sierra Madre
create "sky islands" of cooler, wetter, climates within the desert, and such elevated areas have both coniferous and broad-leaf woodlands, and even forests along drainages and favored exposures.
June temperatures are in the range of 35 to 40 °C / 95 to 104°F
254 millimeters (10.0 in) per year with much of the rain falling during the "monsoon" of late summer. The mean annual precipitation for the Chihuahuan Desert is 235 mm (9.3 in) with a range of approximately 150-400 mm (6-16 in). Nearly two-thirds of the arid zone stations have annual totals between 225 and 275 mm (8.9 and 10.8 in). Snowfall is scant except at the higher elevation edges.
Chihuahuan Desert is an ecoregion that has received little exploration and study. Therefore, it has not been classified or had subdivisions applied to it
a few urban areas within the desert: the largest is Ciudad Juárez
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Chihuahuan Desert may be the most biologically diverse desert in the world, whether measured on species richness or endemism, although the region has been heavily degraded over time. Many native species have been replaced with Creosote Bush. The Mexican Wolf, once abundant, has been extirpated. The main cause of degradation has been grazing
Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) is the dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert. The other species it is found with depends on factors such as the soil, altitude, and degree of slope. Creosote Bush, Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa), and Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) dominate the northern portion. Yucca and Opuntia species are abundant in the central third, while Arizona Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus) and Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) inhabit the southernmost portion. Herbaceous plants, such as Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis), Gypsum Grama (B. breviseta), and Hairy Grama (B. hirsuta), are dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. Lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Opuntia macrocentra and Echinocereus pectinatus are the dominant species in western Coahuila. Anacahuita (Cordia boissieri), Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), Lechuguilla, and Yucca filifera are the most common species in the southeastern part of the desert. Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica), Mimosa zygophylla, Acacia glandulifera and Lechuguilla are found in areas with well-draining, shallow soils. The shrubs found near the Sierra Madre Oriental are exclusively Lechuguilla, Guapilla (Hechtia glomerata), Queen Victoria's Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae), Sotol (Dasylirion spp.), and Barreta (Helietta parvifolia), while the well-developed herbaceous layer includes grasses, legumes and cacti. Grasslands comprise 20% of this desert and are often mosaics of shrubs and grasses. They include Purple Three-awn (Aristida purpurea), Black Grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), and Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula). Early Spanish explorers reported encountering grasses that were "belly high to a horse;" most likely these were Big Alkali Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) and Tobosa (Pleuraphis mutica) bottomlands.[3