Judaean Desert

The Judaean Desert is a desert in Israel and the West Bank that lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea

View of Judean Desert from Mount Yair, Ein Gedi.
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It stretches from the northeastern Negev to the east of Beit El, and is marked by terraces with escarpments.

Judean hills
pinterest button Judean hills David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0

It ends in a steep escarpment dropping to the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley. The Judaean Desert is crossed by numerous wadis from northeast to southeast and has many ravines, most of them deep, from 1,200 feet in the west to 600 feet in the east. The Judaean Desert is an area with a special morphological structure along the east of the Judaean Mountains.

Darga Stream (Darage), the Judean Desert, Israel
pinterest button Darga Stream (Darage), the Judean Desert, Israel user:ST, CC BY-SA 3.0

It is sometimes known as יְשִׁימוֹן Yeshimon, meaning desert or wildland, or yet Wilderness of Judah or Wilderness of Judaea, among others.

Mountain gazelle
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Location

The Judaean Desert lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea. Rainfall in the Judaea region varies from 400–500 millimetres (16–20 in) in the western hills, rising to 600 millimetres (24 in) around western Jerusalem (in central Judaea), falling back to 400 millimetres (16 in) in eastern Jerusalem and dropping to around 100mm in the eastern parts, due to a rainshadow effect.

Judean Desert in bloom
pinterest button Judean Desert in bloom Daviddarom, CC0 1.0

The climate ranges from Mediterranean in the west and desert climate in the east, with a strip of steppe climate in the middle. Major urban areas in the region include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Gush Etzion, Jericho and Hebron.

Judean Desert from the Mount Scopus
pinterest button Judean Desert from the Mount Scopus תמר הירדני, CC BY-SA 3.0

Judaea Group Aquifer

A study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem of an underground water reservoir beneath the Judaean Desert known as the Judaea Group Aquifer, found that the aquifer begins in the Judaean Mountains and flows in a northeasterly direction towards the Dead Sea with outflows at the Tsukim, Kane, Samar and Ein-Gedi springs. The rain-fed aquifer contains an average yearly volume of some 100 million cubic meters of water.

Useful Information

Desert of Judah
Judaean Desert
Arabic: صحراء يهودا‎‎
translit. Sahara Yahudan
Hebrew: מִדְבָּר יְהוּדָה‎
translit. Midbar Yehuda'
It is sometimes known as יְשִׁימוֹן‎, 'Yeshimon' — desert, wildland, or yet Wilderness of Judah or Wilderness of Judaea, among others.