Hot Deserts Case Study

  • Created by: d4nih13
  • Created on: 23-04-19 08:58

Where is the Thar desert?

The Thar Desert is one of the major hot deserts of the world. It streches across north-west India and into Pakistan. The desert covers an area of some 200 000 square km mostly in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is mostly densely populated desert in the world.

Did you know...

The Thar desert is just slightly smaller than the whole of the uk!

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What are oppotunities for development?

Despite the hostile conditions, the Thar desert offers a number of oppertunities for human activity and economic development.

These include...

  • Mineral extractions
  • Tourism
  • Energy
  • Farming
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Mineral Extraction

The desert region has valuable reserves of minerals which are used all over India and exported across the world.

The most important minerals are...

  • Gypsum (used for making plater for the constuction industry and in making cement)
  • Feldspar (used to make ceramics)
  • Phospherite (used for making fertiliser)
  • Kaolin (used as whitener in paper)

There are also valuable reserves of stone in the region. At Jaisalmer the Sanu limestone is the main source of limestone for India's steel industry. Valuable reserves of marble are quarried near Jodhpur, to be used in the construction industry

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In recent years the Thar Desert, with its beautiful landscapes, has become a popular tourist destination. Tens of thousends visit the desert each year, many from neighbouring Pakistan.

Desert safaries on camels, based at Jaisalmer, have become particularly popular with foreigners as well as wealthy Indians from elsewhere in the country.

An annual Desert festival held each winter is a popular attraction. Local people benefit by providing food and accommodation and by acting as guides or rearing and looking after the camels.

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The Thar Desert is a rich energy source.

  • Coal = there are extensive lignite coal deposits in parts of the Thar Desert and thermal energy plant has been constructed at Giral
  • Oil = a large oilfield has been descovered in the Barmer district which could transform the local economy
  • Wind = recently there has been a focus on developing wind power, a renewable form of energy. the Jaisalmer wind park was constructed in 2001. This is India's largest wind farm
  • Solar = with its sunny, cloudless skies, the Thar desert offers ideal conditions for solar power generation. At Bhaleri solar power is used in water treatment
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Most of the people living in the desert are involved in subsistance farming. They survive in the hot and dry conditions by grazing animals on the grassy areas and cultivating vegetables and fruit trees.

Commercial farming, which has grown in recent decades, has been made possible by irrigation. The construction of the Indira Ghandi Canal in 1958 has revolutionised farming and cropssuch as wheat and cotton now thrive in an area that used to be scrubby desert. Other crops grown under irrigation include pulses, sesame, maize and mustard

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Extreme Temperatures

The Thar desert suffers from extremely high temperatures, sometimes exceeding 50 degrees c in the summer. This presents challenges for people, animals and plants in this environment.

  • Working outside in the heat of the day can be very hard, especially for farmers
  • High rates of evaporation lead to water shortages which can affect people as well as plants and animals.
  • Plants and animals have to adapt to survive in the extreme heat. Some animals are nocturnal, hibernating in the cooler ground during daytime. Live stock, such as cattle and goats, need shade to protect them from the intense sun
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Due to the very extreme weather and the presence of vast barren areas there is a very limited road network across the Thar Desert. ther high temperatures can cause the tarmac to melt and the strong winds often blow sand over the road.

Many places are accessable only by camal, which is a traditional form of transport in the region. Public transport often involves serious overladen busses.

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Water Supply

Why are there water shortages?

Water supply has become a serious issue in the Thar Desert. As the population has grown and farming and industry have developed, demand for water has increased. Water in this region is a scarce resource.

The desert has low annual rainfall, high temperatures and strong winds. This causes high rates of evaportation

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Water Supply 2

What are the sources of water?

There are several sources of water in the Thar Desert.

  • Ponds are used to store drinking water, some are natural, some are not
  • There are a few rivers and streams that flow through the desert, such as the river Luni. Most settlements are found beside the river
  • Some water cab be obtained from underground sources using wells but this water is salty and not very good quality
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