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Dust Over Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman

24.8N 57.3E

January 13th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms

Gulf of Oman – January 12th, 2013

Dust blows off the coast of Iran and over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. In winter in this region, dust storms are associated chiefly with the passage of westerly depressions. Here, the dust storm may be connected to a local phenomenon known as the “Shamal” (an Arabic word for “north”).

A shamal is defined as sustained winds of 25 knots or greater. Wind direction is almost always northwesterly. The Shamal produces the most widespread hazardous weather known to the region. The winter Shamal is generally characterized by durations of either 24-36 hours or 3-5 days.

This “3-5 Day Shamal” occurs 1-3 times a winter and produces the strongest winds and highest seas found in the Persian Gulf. Over exposed Persian Gulf waters, sustained winds have reached 50kt which have produced 15+ ft seas. The 3-5 day shamal arises from the temporary stagnation of a 500mb short wave over or just east of the Strait of Hormuz , or from the establishment of a mean long wave trough stalling approximately 56E. Persistent dust and sandstorms occur.

Dust that restricts visibility is confined to the coasts and the immediate offshore areas of the Gulf of Oman during a strong “Shamal”. Visibility drops as low as 3-5NM. Worst conditions are found at the mouths of rivers or canyons. Dust settles rapidly once winds drop below 15kt.

Musandam Peninsula and Qeshm Island in Strait of Hormuz – February 2nd, 2012

25.9N 56.2E

February 2nd, 2012 Category: Mountains, Sediments

Iran - January 19th, 2012

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important strait between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman. The strait at its narrowest is 54 kilometres (34 mi) wide.

Visible near the coast of Iran is Qeshm, an Iranian island situated in the Strait of Hormuz, and separated from the mainland by the Clarence Strait/Khuran in the Persian Gulf. Greenish sediments and algal growth can be observed around the island, particularly to the west.

Visible in the lower part of the image is the Musandam peninsula, jutting into the Strait of Hormuz. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. The Musandam Peninsula has an area of 1,800 square kilometers (695 sq mi). The rugged coastline resembles the glacier-carved coasts of polar regions, but in this case, the coast was shaped by the movement of Earth’s crust. The Arabian plate is slowly pushing under the Eurasian plate, creating the earthquake-prone mountains of Iran. On the leading edge of the Arabian plate, the Musandam Peninsula is sinking. The higher elevation mountains remain above the water, but the sea has rushed in to fill the valleys with fingers of water.

Strait of Hormuz and Al Hajar Mountains by Gulf of Oman

24.6N 56.0E

June 27th, 2011 Category: Mountains

Persian Gulf - June 23rd, 2011

Visible at the top center of this image is the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway connecting the Gulf of Oman (east) and the Persian Gulf (west).

On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates. In the full image, a series of artificial islands can be seen near the country’s coastline, including Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Jumeirah, Palm Deira and The World Archipelago.

Reaching eastward from the UAE across Oman,  parallel to the coast, are the Al Hajar Mountains. The range extends about 300 km (186 mi), between 50-100 km (31-62 mi) inland from the Gulf of Oman coast.

Strait of Hormuz and Khabr National Park, Iran

26.5N 56.2E

March 16th, 2011 Category: Deserts

Iran - February 18th, 2011

Visible on the left side of this image is the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway connecting the Gulf of Oman (right) and the Persian Gulf (left). On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.

While much of the Arabian Peninsula visible here is covered by the sands of the Rub’ al Khali desert, the terrain in Iran is significantly more mountainous. Some snow can be seen atop the mountains due north of the Strait of Hormuz.

Located by these mountains is the Khabr National Park and Ruchun wild life refuge. The lowest elevation is 1000 and the highest 3845 m. The area has a rich flora (about 750 species) and about 120 endemic species.

Strait of Hormuz Between Iran and Arabian Peninsula

22.7N 55.1E

November 25th, 2010 Category: Deserts

Saudi Arabia - November 9th, 2010

While some clouds are present over the Persian Gulf, the rest of this image of Iran (above) and the Arabian Peninsula (below) is clear. The closest point between the two is by the Strait of Hormuz, 35 mi (55 km) wide at its narrowest part, which links the Persian Gulf (west) with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea (east).

Visible on this southeastern part of the peninsula are Saudi Arabia (occupying some of the coast near the top and much of the terrain inland), Qatar (peninsula just south of the clouds), the United Arab Emirates (east and southeast of Qatar), and Oman (east and south of the UAE).

Much of the landscape inland is dominated by the Rub’ al Khali sandy desert, tan and orange in color. In the full image, rows of invidividual, high orange dunes can be observed.

The terrain along the northern coast of Oman and the southern coast of Iran is more mountainous. Visible just off the coast of Iran, by the Strait of Hormuz, is the large island of Qeshm.