Dunes in Saoudi Arabia

$69.00 USD

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As NASA's Landsat 8 satellite flew over the Arabian Peninsula on December 15, 2015, its sensor captured this beautiful natural-color image of the Ar Rub' al Khali desert, also called the “Empty Quarter”. It is a large region of sand dunes and interdune flats known as a sand sea or erg. Large, linear reddish-brown sand dunes alternate with interdune salt flats, or sabkhas. The orientation of the linear dunes lies at a right angle to northwesterly trade winds that originate in Iraq, known as the Shamal winds.

Secondary barchan (crescent-shaped) dunes and star dunes - with crests originating from a single point and stretching in several directions - can form atop the linear dunes when southwesterly winds blow during the monsoon season. The Empty Quarter covers much of the south-central portion of the Arabian Peninsula, and with an area of approximately 660,000 square kilometers, it is the largest continuous sand desert on Earth. The Empty Quarter was so named because the hyperarid climate and difficulty of travel through the dunes has long discouraged permanent settlement within the region.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Customaps, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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