(19) Arabia - Soil
The Soil of Arabia
The soil of Arabia varies according to the character of its rocky substratum. All round the coast, and to a distance corresponding with the breadth of the girding mountain chain to the interior, it is formed of volcanic and metamorphic etritus, with patches here and there of a calcareous character, due to the upheaval and decomposition of old coral banks. Such a soil cannot but be tolerably fertile, and it would be more so were the scantiness of rain made up for by a more systematic artificial irrigation. A second inconvenience is caused by the encroachments of the sand, which is at times drifted by the winds from the desert inland in such quantities as to become seriously injuries to cultivation. Behind the mountains the surface of the desert to the north and west is that of a gravelly expanse, thickly sown over with flint and quartz; while to the east and south it is an almost unalloyed waste of fine sand. Everywhere the rock under lies it, and there exists, of course, no possibility of utilizing a space like this. But the whole of the central plateau- that is, of Nejd, Kaseem, Shomer, Yemamah, and the adjacent lands-is covered with a tolerably deep layer of calcareous earth, mixed with loam, well adapted for cultivation; the best is naturally to be found in the valleys and sheltered spots.
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Arabia - Table of Contents
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