Oasis in desert

Oasis Landforms Have 3 Main Characteristics:

  1. An area surrounded by desert
  2. Has a water source
  3. Supports vegetation and animal life

Example of an Oasis Landform:
Farafra, western Egypt
The oasis picture above is of an oasis in the Sahara Desert

What is an Oasis Landform?

An oasis is an area of vegetation surrounded by desert, having a source of water to support plant and animal life.

How are Oases Formed?

Some oases are natural, where springs or ground water is close to the surface. Plant life begins when migrating birds bring seeds they have eaten, depositing them in moist soil as they take water. An oasis can be created artificially by digging or drilling for a water source underground. Horizontal tunnels for ground water were traditionally dug, inclined slightly upward under higher ground nearby, permitting ground water to flow downhill to the oasis.

How Large is an Oasis?

An small oasis can be a spring or well with vegetation on less than one acre of ground. Some oases may cover several square miles. One of the largest is the Kharga Oasis of western Egypt and is 100 miles long, from 12 to 50 miles wide.

Where Can an Oasis Be Found?

Oases can be found in desert regions of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert of Egypt and many other desert regions of the world.

Famous Oases and Facts

• Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
• Balmorhea State Park, Texas, USA
• Farafra, western Egypt
• Tafilalt, Morocco
• Al-Ahsa, eastern Saudi Arabia

Las Vegas was originally a natural oasis with springs that supported vegetation and local Native Americans. Balmorhea State Park of Texas has a natural spring that produces more than 20 million gallons of water each day. A large pool for public use has been constructed, fed by the water flowing from the spring.

A wetland in the park has also been created using this water, supporting endangered fish species and other wildlife in the area. In the central region of Algeria, there are a series of small oases for 100 miles that served caravans traveling through the Sahara desert.

The town of Farafra in western Egypt has 5,000 people that live in an oasis. It lies in a large depression in the ground with many natural water wells that provide water for the town. It has become a tourist destination for people from other parts of Egypt and from outside the country.

A spring that was used by the Romans flows from a small hillside and is now used to grow date palms, and other fruit and carob trees. Tafilalt is a large oasis, the most important in Morocco that follows the Ziz River. The oasis is famous for producing large dates of exceptional quality, which supported a dynasty in the 13th century. Al-Ahsa in eastern Saudi Arabia is the largest oasis in Asia, having natural springs that have been used by local people for  thousands of years.

Oasis definition:

An area of the desert with a water source, supporting plant and animal life

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