Nafud (näfōdˈ) [key] or Nefud nĕfōdˈ, desert area in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula, occupying a great oval depression; 180 mi (290 km) long and 140 mi (225 km) wide. This area of red sand is surrounded by sandstone outcrops that have eroded into grotesque shapes. The Nafud is noted for its sudden violent winds, which have formed great crescent-shaped dunes, rising up to 600 ft (183 m). Rainfall occurs once or twice a year. In some lowland basins, especially those near the Hejaz Mts. (to the west), there are oases where dates, vegetables, barley, and fruits are raised. The Nafud is connected to the Rub al Khali, the great desert of S Arabia, by the Dahna, a corridor of gravel plains and sand dunes, 800 mi (1,287 km) long and 15 to 50 mi (24.1–80.5 km) wide.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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