Brooke Shaffer

Author, Gamer, and Cat-Collector Extraordinaire

Fun Facts About Deserts and Jungles

You might be thinking, "Huh?  But Charleston is in the mountains!"  Well, my little observant reader, that is very true.  However, the majority of Tick Tock does not occur in Charleston, but in a desert and a jungle.  In order to get you excited and a little more acquainted with the conditions, here are some fun facts about said landscapes.


  1. Deserts are formed as extreme temperature variations and little precipitation cause rocks to crack and break down. Sudden bouts of heavy rain precipitate flash floods which wash everything away.
  2. Deserts are classified by the amount of precipitation received annually.  Thus there may be hot deserts (Sahara) and cold deserts (Antarctica)
  3. There are also less extreme semi-arid deserts which receive more precipitation than hyperarid deserts, but are still deserts.  They may act as the go-between for an arid desert and surrounding fertile lands.
  4. Coastal deserts are defined as strips of land near a large body of water with cold currents that pick up little to no moisture.  Temperature ranges are narrow, but lack of precipitation classifies the area as a desert.  Examples include Chile and Baja California.
  5. Sandstorms are less frequent than dust storms, but they can be considerably more damaging.  During a sandstorm, the particulate matter becomes electrically charged which can interfere with telecommunications and cause headaches and nausea in people.
  6. The driest desert on Earth is the Atacama desert in Chile, where it is suggested that the region received no rain between 1570 and 1971.  Even today, some weather stations have recorded no rain, and the overall precipitation is less than 1mm.
  7. Desert plants have small or no leaves and must store water for long periods of time.
  8. Desert animals are called xerocoles.  Birds are the most well-adapted to desert climates as they can move quickly to get to food and expend the least amount of energy to get there by gliding on air currents.  This also keeps them away from the hot desert floor.
  9. Deserts are often rich in metals and minerals such as gypsum, sodium nitrate, copper, iron, and uranium.
  10. Mars is the only other planet in our solar system where deserts have been identified.


  1. Jungles are areas of dense vegetation heavily dominated by trees.  The term used to be applied to tropical rainforests, but has since fallen out of use.
  2. Jungles differ from rainforests in that jungle ground level vegetation is often unnavigable by humans, and requires cutting, where rainforests are open in their lower levels owing to lack of sunlight.  Jungles and rainforests may occupy the same or neighboring areas.
  3. Tropical rainforests are characterized by warm and wet climates with no dry season.  Tropical dry forests have marked rainy and dry seasons.
  4. Dry forests are less biodiverse than rainforests, but are still home to a significant number of plant and animal species.
  5. More than half of the world's plant and animal species are found in rainforests and jungles.
  6. Typically, soil quality is actually quite poor.  Rapid decay due to the climate does not build up and what little there is, is used up quickly by the surrounding vegetation.
  7. Rainforests in volcanic soil, however, are high in nutrients.
  8. Over 1/4 of the world's natural medicines have been discovered in rainforests and jungles.
  9. In 2007, there were 67 confirmed uncontacted tribes in Brazil.  There were 44 on the island of New Guinea.
  10. Central Africa is home to the Mbuti pygmy tribe and have been the subject of numerous studies.

So that's it.  A little taste of stuff to get you excited and thinking about the upcoming landscape of Tick Tock.

-Brooke Shaffer

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