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Encyclopedia > Empty Quarter
Location of the empty quarter in Arabia
Location of the empty quarter in Arabia
Sand dunes in the Empty Quarter
Sand dunes in the Empty Quarter

The Empty Quarter (Arabic: Rub' al Khali الربع الخالي), is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including southern Saudi Arabia, and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The desert covers some 650,000 square kilometers (250,000 square miles) (the area between long. 44°30'-56°30'E., and lat. 16'30'-23°00'N), more than the combined land areas of the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (990x651, 345 KB) Empty Quarter (Rub al Khali) in Arabia, image PD NASA World Wind image (including yellow borders), added text in Illustrator (also removed old border between North and South Yemen) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (990x651, 345 KB) Empty Quarter (Rub al Khali) in Arabia, image PD NASA World Wind image (including yellow borders), added text in Illustrator (also removed old border between North and South Yemen) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia... Image File history File links File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Arabic language (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), or simply Arabic (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... A dune in the Egyptian desert In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives little precipitation. ... The Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية, or جزيرة العرب) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia consisting mainly of desert. ... Longitude, sometimes denoted by the Greek letter λ, describes the location of a place on Earth east or west of a north-south line called the Prime Meridian. ... Latitude, usually denoted symbolically by the Greek letter φ, gives the location of a place on Earth north or south of the Equator. ...


Largely unexplored (until recently, see below), and virtually uninhabited, the desert is one thousand kilometers (600 miles) long, and 500 km (300 mi) wide. Even the Bedouins only skirt the edges of the desert. Nonetheless, tour companies do exist that offer GPS-equipped excursions into the desert. The first documented journeys made by Westerners to the Empty Quarter were those made by Bertram Thomas in 1931 and St. John Philby in 1932. Between 1946 and 1950 Wilfred Thesiger crossed the area several times and mapped large parts of the Empty Quarter and the mountains of Oman. A kilometer (Commonwealth spelling: kilometre), symbol: km is a unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000 metres (from the Greek words χίλια (khilia) = thousand and μέτρο (metro) = count/measure). ... A mile is the name of a unit of length, usually used to measure distance, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Bedouin resting at Mount Sinai Bedouin, derived from the Arabic , a generic name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups, who are found throughout most of the desert belt extending from the Atlantic coast of the Sahara via the Western Desert, Sinai, and... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ... Bertram Thomas (June 13, 1851 - December 27, 1950), was an English civil servant, who was the first documented Westerner to cross the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter). ... Harry St. ... Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger KBE, DSO (3 June 1910 – August 24, 2003) was a British explorer and travel writer born in Addis Ababa in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). ...


With summer temperatures up to nearly 55 degrees Celsius (131 F) at noon, and dunes taller than the Eiffel Tower - over 330 meters (1000 ft) - the desert may be the most forbidding environment on Earth. However, as nearly everywhere else, life flourishes. Arachnids, rodents and plant life can all be found throughout the Empty Quarter. As an ecoregion, it falls within the Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian xeric shrublands. A degree Celsius (°C) is a unit of temperature named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701-1744), who first proposed a similar system in 1742. ... This article is about the sand formations, for other meanings see Dune (disambiguation) Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by eolian (wind-related) processes. ... The Tower at sunrise. ... Earth (often referred to as the Earth, or the earth) whose Latin name is Tellus (often incorrectly referred to as Terra, meaning soil) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ... An ecoregion is a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. ... The template of this page is being worked at Wikipedia:WikiProject Ecoregions/Template. ...


Desertification has increased through the millennia. Before desertification made the caravan trails leading across the Rub' al Khali so difficult, the caravans of the frankincense trade crossed now virtually impassable stretches of wasteland, until about 300 AD. See for example the lost city of Ubar, which depended on such trade. More recently, tribal populations were also present in certain parts of the Empty Quarter, with the largest in the Najran region. A few road links were connected with these tribal settlements to the water resource and oil production centers. Ship stranded by the retreat of the Aral Sea Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and human activities. ... A camel train is a series of camels carrying goods or passengers in a group as part of a regular or semi-regular service between two points. ... 100g of frankincense resin. ... In the popular imagination lost cities are real, prosperous, well-populated areas of human habitation that have fallen into terminal decline and been lost to history. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Iram of the Pillars. ...


Geologically, the Empty Quarter is one of the most oil-rich places in the world. Vast oil reserves have been discovered underneath the sand stacks. Sheyba, in the middle of the desert, is a major Arab light crude oil-producing site in Saudi Arabia. Also, Ghawwar Field, the largest oil field in the world, extends southward into the northernmost parts of the Empty Quarter. Pumpjack pumping an oil well near Sarnia, Ontario Petroleum (from Greek petra – rock and elaion – oil or Latin oleum – oil ) or crude oil is a black, dark brown or greenish liquid found in porous rock formations in the earth. ... National motto: None Official language Arabic Capital Riyadh King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Area - Total - % water Ranked 14th 1,960,582 km² Negligible Population - Total (2003) - Density Ranked 43rd 26,417,599 (2005) 12/km² Unification 23 September 1932 Currency Riyal... Light crude oil as opposed to heavy crude oil contains a low content of wax. ... Ghawar Field is a large oil field in Saudi Arabia. ...


Recent excursions

A scientific excursion organized by the Saudi Geological Survey was lead by a team of 89 environmentalists, geologists, and scientists, from Saudi Arabia as well as experts from abroad on February 25, 2006 to explore the Empty Quarter. Various types of fossilized creatures as well as meteor rocks were discovered among the parched desert dunes. The expedition also lead to the discovery of 31 new plant species and plant varieties, as well as 24 species of birds that inhabit the desert, which fascinated scientists as to how they have survived under the harsh conditions of the Empty Quarter. These findings led the geologists to nickname the area Rub' al-Ghali, or the Valuable Quarter. The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) is the national geologic survey of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was established as an independent entity attached to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources following a Council of Ministers Decision in 1999. ... Bold textHello ... A geologist is a contributor to the science of geology, studying the physical structure and processes of the Earth. ... February 25 is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses of the term, see Fossil (disambiguation) Fossils are the mineralized remains of animals or plants or other artifacts such as footprints. ... Photo of a burst of meteors with extended exposure time A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that enters the Earths (or another bodys) atmosphere, commonly called a shooting star or falling star. ...


External links

  • Saudi Aramco World: Lakes of the Rub'a Al-Khali
  • Sights & Sounds: The Empty Quarter: A National Geographic virtual tour in the Empty Quarter
  • Clear picture of some of the dunes in the Empty Quarter
  • "Rub al-Ghali" Expedition of the Empty Quarter

  Results from FactBites:
 
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Empty Set, also called null set, set that has no elements or members.
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Empty Quarter (Rub‘ al Khali): map of desert regions
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