Harrat al-Sham

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The Harrat near Jawa in eastern Jordan

The Ḥarrat al-Shām (Arabic: حَرَّة ٱلشَّام‎),[1] variously transcribed as Ḥarrat ash-Shāmah (حَرَّة ٱلشَّامَة), or Ḥarrate-Shāmah (حَرَّةِ شَامَة),[citation needed] also known as the Black Desert,[2] is a region of rocky, basaltic desert straddling southern Syria and the northern Arabian Peninsula. It covers an area of some 40,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi)[citation needed] in modern-day Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

The geological origin of the Harrat is a volcanic field formed by tectonic activity from the Oligocene through to the Quaternary period.[3] It is the largest of several volcanic field on the Arabian Plate,[3][4] containing more than 800 volcanic cones and around 140 dikes and ring dikes.[clarification needed][citation needed] The Jabal al-Druze, al-Safa and Dirat al-Tulul volcanic fields, among others, form the northern and Syrian part of the harrat; Al-Harrah is in the southern, Saudi Arabian, third of the field.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ibrahim, K. (1993), The geological framework for the Harrat Ash-Shaam Basaltic Super-Group and its volcanotectonic evolution, Jordan: Bulletin 24, Geological Mapping Division, Natural Resources Authority
  2. ^ Betts, Alison (1982). "A Natufian site in the Black Desert, Eastern Jordan". Paléorient. 8 (2): 79–82. doi:10.3406/paleo.1982.4322. ISSN 0153-9345.
  3. ^ a b Al Kwatli, Mohamad Amer; Gillot, Pierre Yves; Lefèvre, Jean Claude; Hildenbrand, Anthony (2015-09-01). "Morpho-structural analysis of Harrat Al Sham volcanic field Arabian plate (Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia): methodology and application". Arabian Journal of Geosciences. 8 (9): 6867–6880. doi:10.1007/s12517-014-1731-1. ISSN 1866-7538.
  4. ^ Krienitz, M.-S.; Haase, K. M.; Mezger, K.; Shaikh-Mashail, M. A. (2007-08-01). "Magma Genesis and Mantle Dynamics at the Harrat Ash Shamah Volcanic Field (Southern Syria)". Journal of Petrology. 48 (8): 1513–1542. doi:10.1093/petrology/egm028. ISSN 0022-3530.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ilani, S., Harlavan, Y., Tarawneh, K., Rabba, I., Weinberger, R., Khalil, I., and Peltz, S. (2001), "New K-Ar ages of basalts from the Harrat Ash Shaam volcanic field in Jordan: Implications for the span and duration of the upper-mantle upwelling beneath the western Arabian plate" Geology 29(2):171–174
  • Kempe, S. and Al-Malabeh, A. (2005), "Newly discovered lava tunnels of the Al-Shaam plateau basalts", Geophysical Research Abstracts 7, European Geosciences Union
  • Salf, S.I. (1988), "Field and petrographic characteristics of Cenozoic basaltic rocks, Northwestern Saudi Arabia" Journal of African Earth Sciences, 7(5):805–809
  • Weinstein, Y., Navon, O., Altherr, R., and Stein, M., (2006) "The role of lithospheric mantle heterogeneity in the generation of Plio-Pleistocene alkali basalt suites from NW Harrat Ash Shaam (Israel)", Journal of Petrology 47(5):1017–1050
  • Al Kwatli, M.A., Gillot, P.Y., Zeyen, H., Hildenbrand, A., and Al Gharib, I., 2012. Volcano-tectonic evolution of the northern part of the Arabian plate in the light of new K-Ar ages and remote sensing: Harrat Ash Shaam volcanic province (Syria). Tectonophysics, 580, 192–207.

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