Terrain shapes and bedrock
Within the narrow coastal plain of the Red Sea in the
west, the country rises with high slopes and reaches Hijaz
in the north over 2,500 meters above sea level and in Asir
south of it nearly 3,000 m above sea level. The plateau
inside, whose surface is covered by lava and gravel fields
with deep dry valleys, wadier, gradually descends to the
east and is occupied by large desert areas, Nafud in the
north and Rub al-Khali in the south. They are joined by
ad-Dahna in the east, an approximately 80 km wide strand of
red-colored sand, 1,300 km long with dunes of 50-150 m
height. The bedrock here consists of sedimentary rocks.
Harder layers occur in their places in the day as high,
sharp cuesta ridges, e.g. Tuwayq Mountains in southern Najd.
The coastal areas along the Persian Gulf are low, have deep
bays, large salt plains and rich oil deposits.
COUNTRYAAH, the location at the high-pressure belt around the
northern tropic and in the rain shadow for winds from the
sea gives a dry climate. Only in the mountainous regions in
the southwest, the annual rainfall is over 400 mm. In the
Rub al-Khali desert, ten years or more can pass between the
rain showers. In the northwest, most of the precipitation
falls during the winter due to low pressure from the
Mediterranean. In the south, the occasional rain is due to
the summer monsoon from the Indian Ocean.
The average temperature in January is around 10 ～ C in
the north of the country and around 20 ～ C in the south. In
July, the average temperature is around 25 ～ C in most of
the country, but temperatures of up to 50 ～ C have been
measured in the desert. In winter, the temperature can reach
well below the zero point, and the mountain peaks in the
southwest can then be snow-covered.
Plant-and animal life
There are a total of more than 1,700 species of
hiding-seeded plants. In the mountain and plateau area Najd
there are natural springs and sometimes plenty of water in
winter. In their places, juniper and olive trees dominate,
in other areas there are shrubs of acacias and tamarisk as
well as larger acacias and locusts. In more desert areas,
euphorbias, Zygophylllum species, shrub-
covered amaranth plants, and the grass genus dominate
There are about 77 species of mammals, 155 species of
nesting birds and 84 species of reptiles. Among mammals,
small species such as barbed mice (the genus Acoʹmys),
desert rats, and capers dominate. Arabian gazelle (Gazeʹlla
gazeʹlla) is rare and Arabian oryx has been
transplanted. Caracal, fennel and sand fox (Vuʹlpes
rueppeʹllii) are fairly common, while striped hyena are
rare and leopard and cheetah are likely extinct.
Characteristic birds are larches, stoneflies and flying
chickens. Typical reptiles include dabbagams, hams and
In 2010, there were about 30 major nature-protected areas
in Saudi Arabia, most of them from the late 1980s to the
mid-1990s. Only one area - Asir (4,500 km2) - is
called the National Park.