Oman Geographical Information
A map of the Arabian Peninsula rather resembles a boot with the toe pointing in a north-easterly direction. Oman, with 309,500 square kilometres of very varied, striking terrain, occupies the south-eastern part of the Peninsula, between Latitudes 16 40' and 26 20' North and Longitude 51 50' and 59 40' East. With a coastline which extends for 1,700 kilometres from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the borders of the Republic of Yemen and overlooks three seas - the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
The Sultanate of Oman borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the west; the Republic of Yemen in the south; the Strait of Hormuz in the north and the Arabian Sea in the east.
Dominated by an interior of jagged mountains simply called al-Hajar, 'the Rock', the country is a magic tapestry of different terrain. The mountains, whose king at a soaring 3,075 metres is the terraced Jabal al-Akhdar ("The Green Mountain"), rise straight out of the coastal plains or the seam or soar out of the gravel plateaux and shifting dunes in the Interior. The country ranges from the fjord-like barren majesty of the Musandam Peninsula that plunges into the Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the fertile Batinah plain that inclines south-east towards Muscat, from the vast, sandy edge of the Rub al-Khali (The Empty Quarter) through the mountains to the lush, monsoon-based near-tropical Salalah plain in the south.
The very landscape of Oman is dramatic and exciting. Rugged cliffs rise sheer from a deep blue sea; tawny deserts lap up to the foot of arid mountains whose jagged peaks tower high above; deep green palm groves fill a mountain valley or spread out around an ancient mud-built town.
Along the plain of the Batinah the palm groves form an uninterrupted belt, and the coastal towns behind them are guarded by ancient forts.
In the far south, the mountains of Dhofar turn a lush vivid green with the summer monsoon. It is the Hajar mountain range, however, that is the backbone of Oman. These mountains have played a central role throughout the history of the land, shaping the character of the people and their destiny.
Although the mountains only cover about one-sixth of Oman's total 309,500 square kilometres, they have always dominated the country at their feet, and determined the pattern of settlement there.
Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south.
Petroleum - Copper - Asbestos - Some marble - Limestone - Chromium - Gypsum - Natural gas
Arable land: less than 2%
Permanent crops: 0%
Meadows and pastures: 5%
Forest and woodland: 0%
Irrigated Land: 410 sq km (1989 est.)
Current issues: rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; very limited natural fresh water resources
Natural hazards: summer winds often raise large sandstorms and duststorms in interior; periodic droughts
International agreements: party to - Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ship Pollution, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change
For further reading visit our Geography of Oman page with details about the country side.