- Western Desert (North Africa)
The Western Desert is a
desertregion encompassing 600,000km² of land to the west of the Nilein Egyptand Libya. In most of Upper Egypt, the desert encroaches very near the Nile, with a flood plainonly a few kilometers wide.
The Western Desert covers about 700,000 square kilometers (equivalent in size to Texas) and accounts for about two-thirds of Egypt's land area. This immense desert to the west of the Nile spans the area from the Mediterranean Sea south to the Sudanese border. The desert's Jilf al Kabir Plateau has an altitude of about 1,000 meters, an exception to the uninterrupted territory of basement rocks covered by layers of horizontally bedded sediments forming a massive plain or low plateau. The Great Sand Sea lies within the desert's plain and extends from the Siwa Oasis to Jilf al Kabir. Escarpments (ridges) and deep depressions (basins) exist in several parts of the Western Desert, and no rivers or streams drain into or out of the area.
Limited agricultural production, the presence of some natural resources, and permanent settlements are found in the other six depressions, all of which have fresh water provided by the Nile or by local groundwater. The Siwah Oasis, close to the Libyan border and west of Qattara, is isolated from the rest of Egypt but has sustained life since ancient times. The Siwa's cliff-hung Temple of Amun was renowned for its oracles for more than 1,000 years. Herodotus and Alexander the Great were among the many illustrious people who visited the temple in the pre-Christian era.
The other major oases form a topographic chain of basins extending from the Faiyum Oasis (sometimes called the Fayyum Depression) which lies sixty kilometers southwest of Cairo, south to the Bahariya, Farafirah, and Dakhilah oases before reaching the country's largest oasis, Kharijah. A brackish lake, Birket Qarun, at the northern reaches of Al Fayyum Oasis, drained into the Nile in ancient times. For centuries sweetwater artesian wells in the Fayyum Oasis have permitted extensive cultivation in an irrigated area that extends over 1,800 square kilometers (694 square miles).
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
North Africa — North African. the northern part of Africa, esp. the region north of the tropical rain forest and comprised of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and that part of Egypt west of the Gulf of Suez. * * * Introduction region of Africa comprising … Universalium
Western Desert Campaign — Part of North African Campaign … Wikipedia
North Africa — Northern Africa (UN subregion) … Wikipedia
North Africa during Antiquity — Main article: History of North Africa The history of North Africa during the period of Classical Antiquity (c. 8th century BC 5th century CE) can be divided roughly into the History of Egypt in the east and the history of Ancient Libya in the… … Wikipedia
History of North Africa — North Africa is a relatively thin strip of land between the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean, stretching from Moroccan Atlantic coast to Egypt. The region comprises the modern countries, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Mauritania,… … Wikipedia
Culture of North Africa — The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic, and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro Asiatic family. The Sahara… … Wikipedia
Umayyad conquest of North Africa — Part of the Muslim conquests and the Byzantine Arab Wars Date 647–709 Location Egypt, North Africa … Wikipedia
Education in the Middle East and North Africa — The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has emphasized education’s importance as a fundamental human right and a necessary element of development [United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights ,(New York:United Nations,1948).] .… … Wikipedia
Obesity in the Middle East and North Africa — Obesity in North Africa and the Middle East is a notable health issue. In 2005, the World Health Organization measured that 1.6 billion people were overweight and 400 million were obese. It estimates that by the year 2015, 2.3 billion people will … Wikipedia
Africa — /af ri keuh/, n. 1. a continent S of Europe and between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. 551,000,000; ab. 11,700,000 sq. mi. (30,303,000 sq. km). adj. 2. African. * * * I Second largest continent on Earth. It is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea,… … Universalium