1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabia - Minerals, Mining, Geology

(Part 21)


(21) Minerals in Arabia. Mining.

In mineral products of a valuable description the Arabia of our days is singularly poor, so much so as to suggest the idea that the Arabian gold and jewels, often mentioned by classical writers, must have been brought from Yemen as from a mart or depot, not a place of production. Yet even so late as 600 A.D. the exiled monarch of Sanaa, Seyf of Yezen, could in his interview with the Persian despot Chosroes, describe southern Arabia as "a land the hills of which are of gold and its dust silver." Nowadays nothing is found to justify or even to account for such gorgeous statements. Agates, onyxes, carnelians, and though rarely, topazes alone are to be met with; of gold mines and precious ores not a trace. Lead is, however, more common. The richest ores of this mineral come from the mountains of Oman; it is brought down to Mascat, and exported thence by sea. A small quantity of silver is also extracted from the same mines. Cinnabar and iron occur in the Sinaitic penincula, and sulphur has been observed here and there in the long volcanic range that reaches from Palestine to Mecca. Rock-salt is extracted from many parts of the coast range; it exists, too, in the central districts of the peninsula, where of metals, a little iron excepted, not a vestige appears.

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Arabia - Table of Contents

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