February 23, 2010

Oman Population 2,845,000

Area 309,550 km2
A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (Al Hajar Mountains) and southeast coast, where the country's main cities are also located: the capital city Muscat, Sohar and Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south.
Coast of Sur, Oman.

Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and humid along the coast. During past epochs Oman was covered by ocean. Fossilized shells exist in great numbers in areas of the desert away from the modern coastline.

Annual rainfall in Muscat averages 100 mm, falling mostly in January. Dhofar is subject to the southwest monsoon, and rainfall up to 640 mm has been recorded in the rainy season from late June to October. While the mountain areas receive more plentiful rainfall, some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of a year. The climate generally is very hot, with temperatures reaching 54 °C in the hot season, from May to September.

Desert shrub and desert grass, common to southern Arabia, are found. Vegetation is sparse in the interior plateau, which is largely gravel desert. The greater monsoon rainfall in Dhofar and the mountains makes the growth there more luxuriant during summer. Coconut palms grow plentifully in Dhofar and Frankincense grows in the hills. Oleander and varieties of Acacia abound. The Al Hajar Mountains are a distinct ecoregion, the highest points in eastern Arabia with wildlife including the Arabian tahr.

Oman is known for its popular tourist attractions. Wadis, deserts, beaches, and mountains are areas which make Oman unique to its neighboring GCC nations (Wadis in particular). With a coastline of 1700 km, Oman offers some of the cleanest, most stunning beaches a visitor could hope to see. Few beaches are private, except some attached to the beach resort hotels, or those adjoining military or official property.

The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis. Since 1999, search campaigns in Oman have provided about 20% of the world's meteorites. These include rare meteorites from Mars and the Moon. The meteorite accumulations in the gravelly central desert play an important role in increasing knowledge of conditions in the early solar system.

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