(9) Arabia - Persian Gulf Coast
Coast of the Persian Gulf
Near Cape Musandam, at about 400 miles north-west of Ras-el-Hadd, the mountains (which averaging in this promontory from 2000 to 3000 feet in height, come down in precipices to the seas edge) are indented with numerous deep creeks and bays, several afford good anchor age and shelter,-only they are cut off by the steepness of the surrounding cliffs from inland communication. West of Musandam, and following the sweep of the great bay of Sharjah and Katar, within the gulf itself, the coast becomes low and sandy, and henceforth offers no harbours, but mere roadsteads, often dangerous of approach by reason of the numerous banks and shoals in the sea. A few palm trees line the shore, which has a desolate appearance. Further still no the north-west along the region of Hasa, and up to the head of the gulf, the coast continues low, buy is enlivened by extensive green tracts of palm-groves and other semi-tropical vegetation. The mountains, situated a good way inland, and not exceeding 3000 feet in their extreme height, are of Jurassic formation. Copious springs, some of which are hot and others tepid, break out in many places at their base, but are again absorbed in the sand, or are dissipated by field irrigation before reaching the sea. The extreme northern angle of the gulf is comparatively desert.
Physical Character of the Coast
Owing to the rapid interchange of heat and cold occasioned by the peculiar situation of the gulf between the torrid levels of Arabia on the one side, and the high, not unfrequently snow-capped, mountains of Persia on the other, the climate of this coast is remarkably irregular in its seasons, and subject to sudden storms of great violence, with heavy rains. It is also decidedly unhealthy; and low fevers, sometimes of an intermittent, sometimes of a typhoid type, are never absent from the villages.
Indeed the whole of the Arabian sea-shore, which are have now thus summarily surveyed, partakes more or less of the same unhealthy character, one often noticed by travelers, and experienced by some of them with fatal effect. We have seen, too, that in general outline it offers little variety, being mostly mountains, especially in its southern, with a narrow and rarely fertile shore-fringe; while the mountains themselves vary in height and extent, being at their loftiest and widest in Yemen and Oman, where their rich vegetation, joined to a pure air and a climate tempered by the elevation, offers an agreeable contrast to the dissimilar qualities of the coast itself, narrower and more barren elsewhere.
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Arabia - Table of Contents