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Posts tagged Rub’ al Khali

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. There are also brackish salt flats in some areas, such as the Umm al Samim area on the desert’s eastern edge.

Dust Plumes Off Socotra Island

13.6N 53.6E

June 12th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms

Yemen and Somalia - June 9th, 2012

Dust hangs in the air over the Gulf of Aden, between Somalia (below) and the Arabian Peninsula (above). Most of the dust likely originated in the Rub’ al Khali, an immense sandy desert whose yellow and orange dunes are visible in the upper part of the image. While the dust appears thickest over the gulf to the west, a wide plume of dust can also be seen off a peninsula on the Somali coast (bottom center) and two thinner, parallel plumes can be observed blowing northeastward of the island of Socotra, belonging to Yemen.

Dust Suspended in Air by Arabian Peninsula

19.7N 57.8E

June 11th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms

Dust by Arabian Peninsula - June 7th, 2012

Dust blows off the coast of Iran (above) and the coast of Yemen (lower left). The former is likely from a dust storm that has been raging in Pakistan over the last few days (click here for previous images), while the latter is probably from the Rub’ al Khali desert on the Arabian Peninsula, from which dust has also been blowing over the last few days (click here for previous images).

Dust Over Gulf of Aden, Between Yemen and Somalia

11.5N 44.7E

June 8th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms

Dust Over Gulf of Aden - June 7th, 2012

Dust from the Arabian Peninsula, probably originating in the Rub’ al Khali desert, blows over Yemen (above), across the Gulf of Aden and over Somalia (below). The Gulf of Aden is a gulf located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide (both the strait and part of the Red Sea are visible through the dust by the left edge).


Dust Over Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, Between Arabian Peninsula and Africa

13.8N 43.6E

June 6th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms

Arabian Peninsula - June 5th, 2012

Dust blows between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent, clouding the skies over Yemen (center) and Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia (left to right, below). A veil of dust also covers the Red Sea (left), the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden (bodies of water from left to right). The dust likely originates in the Rub’ al Khali, the large, extremely arid desert in the lower part of the Arabian Peninsula.