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Reddish-Orange Sands of Rub’ al Khali Desert, Arabian Peninsula – November 15th, 2011

21.7N 51.9E

November 15th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Image of the day

Saudi Arabia - November 14th, 2011

The Rub’ al Khali, meaning “Empty Quarter” in Arabic, is one of the largest sand deserts in the world. It encompasses 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 area between long. 44°30′ −56°30′E., and lat. 16°30′ −23°00′N). It 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 reddish-orange color, particularly in the southern and southeastern parts as can be observed in this image, due to the presence of feldspar.

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