The Rub’ al Khali, in Arabic translates literally as The Empty Quarter. It is the world’s largest expanse of continuous, unbroken sand desert, spanning across one-fifth of the Arabian Peninsula and covering 250,000 square miles. The Quarter can be accessed through the many countries that share it, such as Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
The temperatures in this vast oblivion range from about 49°C during the day to 4°C at night.The region is extremely dry with the occasional rage of fierce winds and dust storms. Remarkably enough, the sand dunes can rise as high as 250 to 300 metres which can move at a speed of 30km per year. The area is largely uninhabited although the Bedouin Arabs house only the edges. Although few plants or animals survive there, arachnids and Oryx (a rare and endangered species) have been sighted.
The history of the place is as grand as, much has been written about the desert: many thousands of years ago, it was once said to be inhabited by a rich and powerful civilisation. This may seem a myth, however much intriguingly archaeologists have excavated the remains of abundant lakes and geologists have found fossils dating back to between 5,000 and 35,000 years ago. Literature has made possible links to the fabled exuberantly rich city of Ubar which has said to be disappeared beneath these same sands.
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