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The dunes of the Rub al-Khali desert are constantly changing. Passat and monsoon winds give them new forms. (Photo: Michael Martin)

Die Dünen der Rub al-Khali Wüste wandeln sich ständig. Passat- und Monsunwinde geben ihnen neue Formen. (Foto: Michael Martin)

The dunes of the Rub al-Khali desert are constantly changing. Passat and monsoon winds give them new forms. (Photo: Michael Martin)

The term desert invariably causes associations with sand. However, only about 20 percent of the earth's surface consists of pure sand deserts. The huge snow and ice regions in the polar regions are also deserts. Antarctica is the world's largest desert with an area of ​​13, 200, 000 square kilometers. Michael Martin has traveled and photographed barren areas for six years. In his book he takes a look at all types of hostile areas.

Geologists define deserts as areas that are hostile or inhospitable in one way or another. They are just wild. Not all in the same measure. Dry deserts are characterized by the fact that lack of precipitation and high temperatures severely limit the vegetation - or even prevent anything from growing. These include parts of the Sahara.

For cold deserts, the same applies, only vice versa. Because of frost, snow and strong winds, it looks bad for plants here. This is because the summers are far too short for any vegetation to develop. There is a completely different problem with ice deserts: There is neither rock nor soil in which plants could take their roots.

"On the highest dunes and in the deepest glacial caves"

In addition to the desert species already mentioned, there are still edaphic deserts. Edaphic is derived from the Greek word for "soil", because in these deserts is not the climate due to the lack of vegetation, but the soils. These are designed so that they can not store water for a long time. Therefore, there is hardly anything to grow there despite possibly high annual precipitation.

Michael Martin has set himself the task of capturing the diversity of the deserts in pictures. At the same time, he uses his knowledge as a geographer to classify his observations. He himself says: "The prospect of special pictures has allowed me to climb the highest dunes and crawl into the deepest glacial caves. Not only did I travel around the world as a photographer, but also as a geographer, always trying to understand context and understand nature. As individual as these findings were, I always tried to place them in a larger, global context. "Ad

To the book:

Michael Martin

Planet desert

Knesebeck, Munich 2015, € 49.95

About the author:

The author and photographer of "Planet Desert" Michael Martin is one of the most renowned desert photographers in the world. In addition to dry deserts, his current work also focused on the cold and ice deserts of the Arctic and Antarctic. Within six years, Martin made 40 trips and expeditions to the most remote and extreme areas of the world. In his long career, the photographer published 30 illustrated books and books, produced several television films and held over 2000 lectures.

© - Maximilian Erbach
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