Great Sand Sea
|Great Sand Sea
البحر رمال الأعظم
The dunes of the Great Sand Sea near Siwa, Egypt
Map of the topographic features of the Sahara
|Country||Egypt and Libya|
|• Total||72,000 km2 (28,000 sq mi)|
|Elevation||100 m (300 ft)|
The Great Sand Sea is an approximately 72,000 km² desert region in North Africa stretching between western Egypt and eastern Libya. Despite its name, only 7% of the Great Sand Sea is covered by dunes.
The Great Sand Sea stretches for a length of about 650 km from north to south and a width of 300 km from east to west. On satellite images this desert shows a pattern of long sand ridges running in a roughly north-south direction. However, despite the apparent uniformity the Great Sand Sea has two large areas with different types of megadunes. Together with the Calanshio Sand Sea and Ribiana Sand Sea of Libya, the dunes of the Great Sand Sea cover about 25% of the greater Libyan Desert.
Although well-known to the Tuareg and traders who traveled with caravans across the Sahara, Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs was the first European to document the Great Sand Sea. He began his Saharan expeditions in 1865, and named the great expanse of dunes the Große Sandmeer, but it was not until 1924 with the maps of Ahmed Hassanein that the full scope of the Great Sand Sea was appreciated by Europeans.
- Ernst-Michael Steffan, Untersuchungen zur Morphologie und Genese der aeolischen Akkumulationsformen der Ostsahara mit Hilfe der Fernerkundung. Berliner geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen. 1983
- Besler, Helga (2008) The Great Sand Sea in Egypt: Formation, Dynamics and Environmental Change: A Sediment-Analytical Approach Elsevier, Amsterdam, page 1 - 3, ISBN 978-0-444-52941-1
- The Great Sand Sea - Rough Guides
- Media related to Great Sand Sea at Wikimedia Commons
- Egypt Travel - The Great Sand Sea
- Desert Geomorphology
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