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The Desert of Southeast Arabia

A tropical desert consists of barren land over which rainfall is too limited to support vegetation. So why are such desolate and hostile places, like deserts, important to study? 

Firstly, desert studies help us predict possible future changes to the environment and how to avoid damaging it. In his book The Desert of Southeast Arabia, Ken Glennie takes us on a journey back in time to when Arabia was a much greener place, and he explains how global climate made it so barren.

Secondly, in many parts of the world, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Europe’s North Sea and the United States, hydrocarbons are found in ancient dune sand reservoirs. Can we unravel the depositional and stratigraphical intricacies of these ancient gas- and oil-bearing reservoirs by studying modern deserts? Ken pioneered the answer to this question with his studies of both modern deserts and the reservoirs of the Permian Rotliegend Red Beds of northwest Europe. 

Ken started writing this book 10 years ago for students; this is one reason for the extensive Glossary at the back. After many modifications and revisions, his book now provides a different perspective to a well-known topic. Its simplicity, detailed descriptions and illustrations will undoubtedly appeal to students, desert travelers and scientists. Of great value, especially when used in conjunction with studies on the ground, are the satellite images (Landsat) seen here in spectacular colour. None of these images, however, can replace seeing the desert rocks and sediments first hand. In this book, Ken shares his vast knowledge of the Arabian Desert, and exquisite collection of photos taken on the ground and from the air.  

The Desert of Southeast Arabia
by Kenneth W. Glennie

Hardbound, 215 pages, over 200 colored illustrations, photos and satellite images.
ISBN 99901-04-89-1    

Published by:
Gulf PetroLink
P.O. Box 20393
Manama, Bahrain
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


5 Acknowledgements
6 Foreward
9 Preface

Chapter 1
12 Introducing the Desert of Southeast Arabia
13 Arabia’s Geographical Setting

Chapter 2
18 Definition of a desert and distribution of modern deserts
Chapter 3
20 The reasons why tropical deserts exist
21 Monsoons

Chapter 4
23 The influence of high-latitude glaciations on tropical deserts

Chapter 5
28 The Practical value of a study of Quaternary Deserts
30 Marine Sediments in Deserts

Chapter 6
31 Desert weathering and erosion
31 6.1 Weathering
31 Dew and Chemical Corrosion
31 Weathering by Insolation
33 Exfoliation
33 Frost Shattering
35 Salt Weathering
35 6.2 Erosion
37 Erosion by Water
38 Deflation
41 Sediment transport by the wind
43 6.3 Desert Pavements, Ventifacts and Dreikanter

Chapter 7
44 Water in deserts
44 7.1 Rainfall
44 7.2 Desert river and stream channels – wadis and alluvial fans
61 7.2.1 Ancient Alluvial Fans
63 7.2.2 Exhumed Fluvial Channels
70 Desert Varnish
71 7.2.3 Recent Activity Over and Around Ancient Fluvial Fans
72 7.3 Desert Salts and Sabkhas
73 Sabkhas of the Huqf
81 Umm as Samim and Uruq al Mutaridah
88 Al Liwa
97 Sabkhat Matti  

Chapter 8
104 Desert coastal sediments
104 The Lack of Fluvial Deltas on Desert Coastlines
104 The Creation of Organic Carbonate Sand
107 8.1 Coastal Sabkhas
113 8.2 Coastal Lagoons

Chapter 9
118 The Action of Wind in Deserts
118 9.1 Threshold Velocity
118 9.2 Saltation and Surface Creep
122 9.3 Aeolian Sand Accumulations
123 9.3.1 Wind Ripples
127 9.3.2 Dune Systems
129 Transverse and Barchan Dunes
149 Linear Dunes
155 The Wahaybah
169 Al Batinah Coast
169 Changing Wind (Directions and Strengths) with Time
171 9.3.3 Star dunes
171 9.3.5 Sand Seas
171 9.3.6 Aeolianite
175 Rain-wetted Aeolian Sands
178 Dikakah - Rhizoconcretions in Dune Sand
181 Interdune lakes
181 9.4 Sources of dune sand
184 9.5 Loess
185 9.6 The Colour of Dune Sand

Chapter 10
186 History of the Southeast Arabian Desert
186 10.1 Early history
189 10.2 Glacial and Post-Glacial Time
196 10.3 OSL dating
198 10.4 Some oddities

Chapter 11
200 Conclusions
201 Postscript
203 References
209 Glossary
214 About the Author      

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