The Mojave Desert ( moh-HAH-vee, mə-; Mohave: Hayikwiir Mat'aar; Spanish: Desierto de Mojave) is a desert in the rain shadow of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains and Transverse Ranges in the Southwestern United States. It is named for the indigenous Mojave people. It is located primarily in southeastern California and southwestern Nevada, with small portions extending into Arizona and Utah.The Mojave Desert, together with the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin deserts, forms a larger North American Desert. Of these, the Mojave is the smallest and driest. The Mojave Desert displays typical basin and range topography, generally having a pattern of a series of parallel mountain ranges and valleys. It is also the site of Death Valley, which is the lowest elevation in North America. The Mojave Desert is often colloquially called the "high desert", as most of it lies between 2,000 and 4,000 feet (610 and 1,220 m). It supports a diversity of flora and fauna.
The 54,000 Sq. Mile desert supports a number of human activities, including recreation, ranching, and military training. The Mojave Desert also contains various silver, tungsten, iron and gold deposits.: 124 The spelling Mojave originates from the Spanish language, while the spelling Mohave comes from modern English. Both are used today, although the Mojave Tribal Nation officially uses the spelling Mojave. Mojave is a shortened form of Hamakhaave, an endonym in their native language, which means "beside the water".