Exploring the Geographical Features of the Middle East Region

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The Middle East, a clump of countries defined as a set are splitting the northeastern tip of Africa and the southeastern tip of Asia. It is mostly known politically as being corrupt and war-stricken. As of today, there are 17 United Nation identified countries that are considered a part of the Middle East. The Middle East contains the following countries, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. Each of the countries is under one million square miles with Turkey and Saudi Arabia being the largest of the seventeen and Palestine and Bahrain being the smallest. The geographical features are very vast in the Middle East. Each country has a unique land area. A lot of the desserts are very different throughout the middle east, this change in geography also changes climates and life for many people in the middle east.

The country of Bahrain is located on a series of islands located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has an area of about two-hundred ninety-five square miles and contains changing landforms as you travel island to island. Not all of the islands are natural though, some of the islands are man-made and were made to hold housing and business districts. It has a total of thirty-three islands, one large one, and thirty-two smaller ones. Bahrain is mostly a vast desert with ninety-two percent of the islands being covered by sandy desert plains. The other eight percent is salt marshes created by the ocean along with the coastal areas.

The countries of Iraq and Iran are two large countries located side by side and covered with mountains, deserts, and flooded plains. The country of Iraq has an alluvial plain that covers a large chunk of the country and floods very often. It extends very far south with an estimated length of three-hundred and seventy-five miles. In the northern parts of the country are highlands containing mountainous areas as well as high plateaued areas. The mountainous area is actually very small and only covers around 1/20th of the entire country of Iraq. The area is known as the Iraqi Hills because there is a very vast changing transition of high and low levels of ground before reaching the mountains.

In Iran, there are many Oceanus coasts, as one-third of the country is surrounded by the sea. The seas that surround the country include the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Caspian Sea. These major water forms help create a large industry for Iran and separate the borders of other countries. This contributes to helping us find Iran much easier. The trade industry in Iran is contributed once more by the islands that it has control over in the Persian Gulf. Iran, unlike Iraq, is almost entirely mountains. Iran has two large mountain chains including the Zagros Mountains, the largest of the two. These two mountain chains are split by a plain that continues throughout the country.

Turkey is the fourth largest country in the middle east. Turkey has a large amount of desert. It is very flat throughout unless, of course, you are in the mountains. Similar to Russia, Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia and lies in both continents. Also similar to Russia is that the majority of the country is in Asia. It has an area of roughly seven-hundred-fifty square kilometers. By size, the only other countries of this size or larger are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, and Iraq

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The country of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the middle east. Saudi Arabia is also one of the largest countries in the world. It has a total size of over two million square kilometers. This size is similar to what is seen in Argentina and Algeria. It is within the top fifteen largest countries in the world. It is surrounded by nine other countries including, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. It is mostly covered by desert but has higher land the further west you travel within Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is also surrounded by the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, and the Red Sea.

Two of the countries surrounding Saudi Arabia include Yemen and Oman. Yemen has a size of roughly two-hundred-thousand square miles. Oman, on the other hand, is about half the size at one-hundred-fifteen thousand square miles in area. Oman has around three defined different geographical features. Oman consists of a series of plains, a mountain range, and a large plateau. The plateau is very tall at roughly one thousand feet tall. This large plateau is very rocky and rigid and consists of stone. The highest point in Oman can be found inside of its mountain range in the northern part of the country. Standing at about nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven feet tall, Mount Jabal Shams is the tallest peak.

Yemen has a coastline that is roughly four hundred and fifty kilometers long and is mostly plains. Most of its regions include a vast dry Arabia Desert in the north and a large mountain range in the south. The highest peak standing at three thousand six hundred meters tall is Mount Hadur Shu'ayb. This peak is the highest point in Yemen and its neighboring country of Oman. Both countries are surrounded by the Red Sea and the Caspian Sea. They both are also connected directly to Saudi Arabia and have a wide variety of geographical features such as plains, mountains, and plateaus.

Syria is another Middle Eastern country. Syria is almost all desert with a few hills. It is surrounded almost entirely by land except for its far western tip which is directly connected to the Mediterranean Sea. Syria is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to the size of countries in the Middle East. It is roughly seventy-one thousand square miles and is surrounded by Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey.

Israel and Palestine are two of the oldest countries in the Middle East as well as being two very trade prosperous countries. The two countries are located side by side and found just off the Mediterranean coast. The two countries are located just south of Turkey and just west of Syria. They are both very desert covered countries with a few plains and long coastlines. The two countries are located just a boat ride away from the small country of Cyprus which is formed in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Another commonly known country found in the Middle East is the country of Egypt. Egypt is located in the continent of Africa which means that the Middle East is the only region in the world to spread across three continents. Egypt is well known for being completely covered by the Sahara desert and its sub-deserts such as the white desert, western desert, eastern desert, and the Libyan Desert. Egypt has the Mediterranean Sea located off of its eastern coast and also is home to the largest river in the world, the Nile. The Nile River runs from South Africa and flows north through Africa and more importantly Egypt. The Nile is a great trade route for Egypt and other countries and helped shape the geography of the country by eroding the banks and causing the river to grow and the sandy land to change.

Next, let’s take a look at Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a country located near Pakistan and is mostly desert. Afghanistan is completely landlocked by Pakistan, India, Iran, and Tajikistan. Being a large dessert and having been surrounded on all sides makes it easy for people to go in and out of Afghanistan. There are no large mountain chains or any large bodies of water. This as well as being an open desert without sand dunes makes the wind terrible as the wind blows up huge dust storms that erode the land of Afghanistan very badly.

In the Middle East, there are many different things that shape the geography including fault mountains, upwarped mountains, dry deserts, sandy deserts, large lakes, long coastal plains, and the ocean. The geography of the Middle East changes just slightly from country to country making each one a little bit unique from the last. Although there are seventeen countries, all are unique no matter the size and location. There isn’t a country in the Middle East that is the same, that is a key determining statement that defines this paper. That is also a key statement for the people that live in those countries and how their country's geography affects them. This history of geography shows that it wasn’t severely affected by the Ice Age as there aren’t many bodies of running water. There are a few large rivers like the Nile, but most aren’t found until you reached the other side of the Himalayas. The mountains in the Middle East aren’t extremely tall and there aren’t many volcanoes due to the location of the faults. Due to this the more common destruction and reformation of land come from wind. Wind erodes away at the ground creating a desert in places due to dry climates as well as large plateaus that span excessive distances. The Middle East is a unique land and there is nowhere on Earth quite like it.  

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