Saudi Arabia Geographical Data

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34 - Saudi Arabia Government System

Below, are Saudi Arabia Geographical Data :

Saudi Arabia Location:

Saudi Arabia is located in the Middle East, occupying about 80 percent of the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia Size:

Saudi Arabia has a land area of 1,960,582 square kilometers according to U.S. government statistics. Saudi figures, however, denote a land area of 2,250,000 square kilometers. Either way, Saudi Arabia is approximately one-fifth the size of the United States.

Saudi Arabia Land Boundaries:

Saudi Arabia has a total of 4,431 kilometers of borders with Yemen (1,458 kilometers), Iraq (814 kilometers), Jordan (744 kilometers), Oman (676 kilometers), the United Arab Emirates (457 kilometers), Kuwait (222 kilometers), and Qatar (60 kilometers).

Saudi Arabia Disputed Territory:

Only portions of the border with Yemen, demarcated in 1934, are clearly defined. The discovery of new oil repositories in the 1990s led to border disputes between Saudi Arabia and both Yemen and Jordan, some of which were resolved in the early 1990s. Additionally, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait share two Divided Zones, one administered by each country, along their short border. The zones contain about 5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have allowed foreign countries to operate oil fields in the zones while taking an equal share of the revenues.

Saudi Arabia Length of Coastline:

Saudi Arabia has 2,640 kilometers of coastline—nearly 1,800 kilometers along the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea and the remainder along the Persian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia Maritime Claims:

Saudi Arabia claims a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles and a contiguous zone of 18 nautical miles, as well as some small islands, seabed, and subsoils beyond the 12-nautical-mile limit.

Saudi Arabia Topography:

The Arabian Peninsula is an ancient massif whose geologic structure developed concurrently with the Alps. Geologic movements caused the entire mass to tilt eastward and the western and southern edges to tilt upward. In the valley created by the fault, called the Great Rift, the Red Sea formed. On the Arabian Peninsula, the eastern line of the Great Rift fault is visible in the high escarpment that parallels the Red Sea between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Aden. The eastern slope of the escarpment descends gradually. A second, lower escarpment, the Jabal Tuwayq, runs north to south through the area of Riyadh. In the south, a coastal plain rises gradually from the sea to the mountains. The southern region boasts the country’s highest mountain ranges, reaching about 3,000 meters. The central plateau, Najd, extends east to the Jabal Tuwayq and slightly beyond. A long, narrow strip of desert separates Najd from eastern Arabia, which slopes eastward to the sandy coast along the Persian Gulf. North of Najd, a larger desert isolates the heart of the peninsula from the steppes of northern Arabia. South of Najd lies one of the largest sand deserts in the world, the Rub al Khali. Extensive coral reefs buttress much of Saudi Arabia’s coastline, making natural ports rare.

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Saudi Arabia Principal Rivers :

Saudi Arabia has no permanent rivers or lakes. However, in eastern Arabia, artesian wells and springs provide valuable water resources. Additionally, in many areas of northern and eastern Arabia significant underground aquifers lie beneath the desert. The largest contains more water than the entire Persian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia Climate :

The climate in Saudi Arabia differs greatly between the country’s two distinct regions: the coast and the interior. High humidity coupled with more moderate temperatures is prevalent along the coast, whereas aridity and extreme temperatures characterize the interior. Temperatures along the coast rarely exceed 38° C. In the interior, mostly desert, the average daytime temperature in the summer is 45° C, but it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach 54° C. The capital, Riyadh, has an average temperature of 42° C in July and 14° C in January. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Most of Saudi Arabia receives only infrequent rainfall. However, the southwestern province of Asir experiences monsoons between May and October, bringing an average of 300 millimeters of precipitation.

Saudi Arabia Natural Resources :

Saudi Arabia’s vast oil resources have shaped the kingdom’s development. The country also has large natural gas reserves, as well as deposits of bauxite, coal, copper, gold, iron, phosphates, platinum, silver, tungsten, uranium, and zinc. Non-mineral resources include limestone, glass sand, and stone.

Saudi Arabia Land Use :

Most of Saudi Arabia consists of arid or semi-arid land. Uninhabitable desert covers nearly half the country. According to 2005 statistics, only 1.67 percent of Saudi land is classified as arable, and only 0.09 percent of the country’s land is planted to permanent crops. Irrigated land totaled an estimated 16,200 square kilometers in 1998. In the more temperate regions of the kingdom, adequate forage exists to support cattle grazing.

Saudi Arabia Environmental Factors :

Saudi Arabia faces numerous environmental challenges. The country has very little arable land. Water scarcity is a constant concern, as are the related issues of desertification and creeping sands. The region’s dryness results in frequent dust and sand storms that can cripple transportation. The lack of perennial rivers or permanent bodies of water poses a continual challenge, as does the depletion of underground water resources. Additionally, coastal oil spills, though infrequent, contribute to pollution.

Saudi Arabia Time Zone:

Saudi Arabia operates on Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours.

~Library of Congress, 2006~

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