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The “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula

20.4N 45.7E

February 20th, 2013 Category: Deserts

Saudi Arabia – February 19th, 2013

The Rub’ al Khali or Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The desert covers some 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi).

The desert is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long, and 500 kilometres (310 mi) wide. Its surface elevation varies from 800 metres (2,600 ft) in the southwest to around sea level in the northeast. The terrain is covered with sand dunes with heights up to 250 metres (820 ft), interspersed with gravel and gypsum plains.

The sand is a usually reddish-orange color in some areas due to the presence of feldspar. However, here, its sands appear bright whitish tan in color here due to the infrared bands of the sensor used to capture the image.┬áThere are also brackish salt flats in some areas, such as the Umm al Samim area on the desert’s eastern edge.

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