Much of the sediment clouding the water in this image of the Persian Gulf is from the Shatt al Arab River, which enters the Gulf in the north along the Iran-Iraq border. The river drains the combined waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers of Iraq, and the Karun River of Iran. Though other rivers empty into the Persian Gulf, most of its fresh water comes from the Shatt al Arab. On the right edge of the image is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, part of the northern Indian Ocean. The Persian Gulf is flanked to the west by wedge-shaped Kuwait and by Saudi Arabia with its vast tan-, pink-, and white-sand deserts; to the south by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman; and to the east by the dry mountains of Iran. The wetlands and rivers of Mesopotamia border the Gulf on the north. The red dots mark gas flares in oil fields of Iran and Iraq. Image courtesy of NASA.
Dark-colored volcanic cones sprout from an ancient lava field in this high-resolution satellite photo. The field, known as Harrat Al Birk, covers 1,800 sq km (700 sq mi) and is the only volcanic field along Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastline. However, many such lava fields dot the Arabian Peninsula and can range in age from 2 million to 30 million years old. Image courtesy of USGS.
This is not a moonscape. The western half of the Arabian peninsula contains not only large expanses of sand and gravel, but extensive lava fields known as haraat (harrat for a named field). One such field is the 14,000-sq km (5,400 sq mi) Harrat Khaybar, located approximately 137 km (85 mi) to the northeast of the city of Al Madinah (Medina). The volcanic field was formed by eruptions over the past 5 million years; the most recent of which took place about A.D. 600-700. Image courtesy of NASA.