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Desert of Rub’ al Khali on the Arabian Peninsula

19.7N 49.9E

November 26th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Saudi Arabia - November 16th, 2009

Saudi Arabia - November 16th, 2009

The southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as parts of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, are visible here. Much of the area is occupied by the sand desert known as the Rub’ al Khali, or “Empty Quarter” in English.

It is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including areas of all the countries mentioned above, with the exception of Qatar. In total, the desert covers some 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). It is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long, and 500 kilometres (310 mi) wide.

Summer temperatures of nearly 55 °C (131 °F) and dunes over 330 metres (1,100 ft) make Rub’ al Kali one of the most forbidding environments on Earth. Geologically, the Empty Quarter is the second most oil-rich place in the world. Vast oil reserves have been discovered underneath the sand dunes.

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