June 7, 2011
Featured in this view is center pivot irrigation in central Saudi Arabia. Abundant petroleum has provided the energy source for deep-well pumps that tap groundwater stored in bedrock many thousands of years ago when the climate was much wetter. The fields are carved out of ancient alluvial fan deposits, also formed when rainfall was much greater; the fields are pushed right to the edge of the Nafud al Mazhur (sand sea), representative of the present climate. The mining of petroleum and groundwater has enabled Saudi Arabia to become an exporter of wheat and other commodities, in addition to the oil for which it is famous. This picture is one of the 70mm Earth observation visuals used by the crew at its post flight presentation events.
Topics: Environment, Groundwater, Water, Saudi Arabia, Irrigation in Saudi Arabia, An Nafud, Geography of Saudi Arabia, Irrigation, Arabian Peninsula, Petroleum