Gulf Of California

Exploring the Wonders of the Gulf of California

The Gulf of California Makes the Sonoran Desert Thrive

Gulf Of CaliforniaThe Gulf of California is some 200 miles southwest of Tucson AZ, but a major influence on its climate. Tucson sits on a valley floor surrounded by mountains in the Sonoran Desert.

The Sonoran Desert is covers some 110,000 square miles that includes Arizona and Southern California, and of Northwestern Mexico.

Baja California and Baja California Sur are in this desert as well.

The Gulf of California, also referred to as the Sea Of Cortez, is located in the middle of Sonoran Desert. This expansive body of water provides moisture that brings live to most desert species.

The Gulf of California leads many ecologists to refer to the Sonoran Desert as a maritime desert.

Created 6 million Years Ago

The Gulf of California divides the Sonoran Desert into two bodies of land. The Baja California peninsula to the west, and the Mexican state of Sonora to the east. The Gulf of California was created some 6 million years ago when the Baja California Peninsula was pulled from North America.

This event allowed ocean water to flow into the heart of the Sonoran Desert and bring life creating moisture to the desert lands.

The Gulf of California is 700 miles long and varies from 30 to 150 miles wide. It has an average depth of around 2700 feet deep. Interestingly, the surface area of the Sea Of Cortez is almost the same as the Sonoran Desert itself – 100,000 square miles.

The Gulf of California is considered to be one of the most diverse seas on the planet. It is home to more than 5,000 species of macro-invertebrates. The Gulf of California is the eastern shore of Baja California.

Baja California is second longest peninsulas in the world.

The Gulf of California Creates Monsoons in Tucson AZ

The Gulf of California is the significant contributor to the summer monsoon rains in Tucson and Southern Arizona. As gulf water evaporates, it rises into the northward flowing air currents. The higher summer moisture hitting the mountains around Tucson accounts for about half of areas annual rainfall.

These annual monsoon rains are essential in maintaining the diversity of the Sonoran Desert. Without the monsoons, much of the plant life and desert amphibians would not survive.

Only a few species anywhere that owe their existence to a single body of water in the middle of the desert in which they live.

The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where the famous saguaro cactus can be found. Other cacti found in the desert landscape include the cholla, fishhook, prickly pear and organ pipe as well as others. These cactus varieties provide food and homes to many desert mammals and birds.

The winter rains from the northwest make the Sonoran Desert bloom from late March through June. Desert flowers explode with brilliant reds, pinks, yellows, and whites pedals. The summer monsoons bring a second season to the desert floral landscape.

Tucson Lifestyles

The magic of the Sonoran Desert is offers Tucsonans an endless list of things to do and see. The beauty of the mountains surrounding Tucson provide home sites with desert vistas and a backdrop for most Tucson homes.

Spectacular desert sunsets that create back lighting for Saguaro cactus and trees that make the end of every day something to look forward too.


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