2019 Advent Calendar – December 20: Rub Al Khali Desert, Saudi Arabia

On December 20, departure for the immense Rub Al Khali desert, which literally means the “Empty Quarter”.

Rub Al Khali covers much of the south-central area of the Arabian Peninsula. With an area of approximately 660,000 sq km, it is the largest continuous sand desert in the world.

The terrain is covered with sand dunes with heights up to 300 metres. Within a few hours, the wind is capable to change their shapes and move them. The reddish-orange color of the sand is due to the presence of feldspar. It is one of the most-inhospitable environments on Earth with extreme temperatures that can reach 65°C. That hyper-arid region contains large oil fields, some being exploited since the 1960s.

This satellite image is just beautiful. Once again we are amazed by the beauty of the desert. All the colors are surprisingly varied, ranging from blue and white to orange and red.

Did you know? A city would have been swallowed up by the sand dunes of Rub Al Khali. Various names have been given to this city, like Ubar or Iram. It is also called the Atlantis of the Sands. Myth or reality? Maybe one day we’ll find out.

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