The Great Sand Sea, a vast and enigmatic expanse of unbroken sand dunes, stretches across the barren frontiers of Western Egypt and Eastern Libya. It’s a hyper-arid region, a natural barrier that remains largely unknown and rarely visited, reminiscent of the remote areas of New Mexico. This sea of sand, a paradox in its very essence, is a testament to the raw and unyielding beauty of nature’s sculptural prowess.
The Unforgiving Terrain
The Great Sand Sea is a world of sand, an ocean without water. It is an unbroken mass of parallel dune ridges, extending from the south almost 700 km until it reaches the foot of the Gilf Kebir. From west to east, this impressive sand dune field is about 400 km wide at its widest point. The eastern part of the Great Sand Sea, however, is not one living soul’s playground. It is a region where the elements conspire against life, where the days sear with stifling heat and the nights freeze in bitter cold.
The dunes, which are the primary feature of this natural barrier, are magnificent sand sculptures that run in parallel lines. They reach heights of 100 m and lengths of 100 km, presenting a formidable challenge to those who dare to traverse them. These dunes are the result of the incessant winds that sweep across the region, organising this great sand mass into huge longitudinal crested dunes, stretching uninterrupted for hundreds of kilometres, with smooth sand-filled corridors in-between.
The Historical Significance
The Great Sand Sea has a storied history, with tales of British desert patrols and clandestine German operations during World War II. It was during these Saharan expeditions that the first European explorers, aka the English Patient, ventured into this remote area, their footsteps forever lost in the shifting sands. Their stories and other’s movements in this area have added to the allure and mystery of the Great Sand Sea.
The Silica Glass Field: A Desert Enigma
On the southern shore of the Great Sand Sea, close to the Libyan border, lies one of Egypt’s great mysteries: the Silica Glass Fields. These fields are home to a unique form of silica glass, a desert glass that is unlike any other on Earth. The silica glass is concentrated in two areas, one oval-shaped and the other a circular ring, 6 km wide and 21 km in diameter.
This desert glass is marvellously ultra-pure, with a yellow-green hue and a composition of 98 per cent silica. The glass contains tiny pebbles, as well as chunks weighing up to ten pounds, buried half in the reddish sand. Their upper surface polished by the incessant winds that sweep across the desert, these glass fragments are a sight to behold.
Theories Behind the Origin of the Silica Glass
The exact origin of the silica glass remains a mystery, with many theories proposed over the years. One plausible theory suggests that the sand was fused by the intense heat of a meteor impact. This theory is supported by the presence of the Kebira Crater near the silica glass field, which could potentially be evidence of such an event.
Another theory posits that a super-saturated lake of silica slowly dried into pure natural glass. This would have required certain surfaces and conditions, which the Great Sand Sea could have provided. However, without definitive proof, these remain theories, adding to the intrigue and mystery of the Great Sand Sea.
The Great Sand Sea is more than just a sea of sand. It is a testament to the power and beauty of nature, a region that remains largely unknown and rarely visited. It is a place where the wind sculpts the dunes, where the sun bakes the sand, and where time seems to stand still. It is a place of mystery and beauty, a place that continues to captivate and intrigue those who dare to venture into its vast expanse.
The Great Sand Sea: A Realm of Extremes
The Great Sand Sea, in its vastness and isolation, is a world of extremes. It is an environment that tests the limits of life, a place where not one living soul resides permanently. The stark contrast between the scorching days and freezing nights is a testament to the harshness of this environment. However, despite its inhospitable nature, the Great Sand Sea is a place of remarkable beauty. The way the sun’s rays play on the sand, creating a shimmering mirage in the distance, the way the wind shapes the dunes into flowing waves of sand, and the way the moonlight bathes the landscape in a soft glow, all contribute to the ethereal beauty of this place.
The Silent Witnesses of Time
The Great Sand Sea is also a silent witness to the passage of time. The sand dunes, constantly shifting and changing, are like a giant hourglass, marking the passage of time in a place where time seems to stand still. The fossil-bearing localities in the Western Desert, just south of Siva, provide a glimpse into the prehistoric past. These outcrops of rock, bearing the imprints of ancient sea creatures, shark teeth, and even a few completely preserved skeletons of dolphin-like cetaceans, tell a story of a time when this arid landscape was once submerged under the sea.
The Great Sand Sea: A Journey into the Unknown
The Great Sand Sea is a journey into the unknown, a place that remains largely unexplored. Despite the advancements in technology and our understanding of the world, the Great Sand Sea remains one of the last frontiers on Earth. It is a place that continues to captivate and intrigue us, a place that invites us to explore, to discover, and to understand.
The Great Sand Sea is a testament to the power and beauty of nature, a place of mystery and intrigue. It is a place where the wind sculpts the dunes, where the sun bakes the sand, and where time seems to stand still. It is a place of extremes, a place of remarkable beauty, and a place that remains largely unknown. It is the Great Sand Sea, a sea of sand that stretches as far as the eye can see, a place that continues to captivate and intrigue those who dare to venture into its vast expanse.
FAQ about Great Sand Sea
Does the White Desert in Assassin’s Creed Origins hold anything of interest?
The White Desert in Assassin’s Creed Origins, although not a hub of activity, can be used as a grinding location for the raining bugs illusion. However, this can be done in any other desert region in the game.
What is the origin of the sand in Egypt?
The sand populating Egypt’s dune fields typically originates from larger rivers located upwind. Often, it comes from dry river beds exposed to wind during dry seasons or from low-flow rivers that have changed due to a more arid regional climate.
How does sand end up in deserts?
Sand in deserts is generally the result of rocks that have been weathered and broken down. Some rocks break down into sand directly in the desert, while others are carried by the wind from hundreds of miles away.
What was the Sahara before it became a desert?
Before becoming a desert, the Sahara was dominated by trees and grasslands from approximately 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. However, a sudden climate change led to North Africa drying out and the Sahara turning into a desert.
Why is the Great Sand Sea significant?
The Great Sand Sea holds significant geological importance, housing some of the most important fossil-bearing localities in the entire Western Desert. These outcrops of white Miocene marine sediments contain abundant fossils of hard-shelled sea creatures, shark teeth, and even a few completely preserved skeletons of dolphin-like cetaceans.
How did the desert get its sand?
Desert sand typically originates from elsewhere, sometimes hundreds of kilometers away. This sand was washed in by rivers or streams in less arid times, often before the area became a desert. Once a region becomes arid, the lack of vegetation or water leads to soil erosion.
Is there anything of interest in the Great Sand Sea in Assassin’s Creed Origins?
While there are no specific locations or quests in the Great Sand Sea region of Assassin’s Creed Origins, occasional event quests do appear where players face off against a god for a special item.
Where is the world’s largest sand sea located?
The world’s largest sand sea, the Empty Quarter or Rub’ al Khali, is located on the Arabian Peninsula. It holds about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert.
How was the Great Sand Sea formed?
The Great Sand Sea was formed from a chain of wind-excavated depressions paralleling the Mediterranean coast from Jalo in Libya to the Qattara depression in Egypt. Over time, it evolved into the second largest continuous sand-covered area on earth.
Why did the Sahara become a desert?
The Sahara became a desert due to shifts in Earth’s axis that increased temperatures and decreased precipitation, causing abrupt desertification of North Africa around 5,400 years ago.
Is there anything in the Desheret desert?
The Desheret desert houses an Isu construct, Qeneb, too Kah’Aiye, built within a vast artificial canyon. However, the rest of the desert is largely barren and devoid of life.
When did the Sahara Desert become a desert?
The Sahara Desert became a desert approximately 2-3 million years ago, a change that spanned from the late Pliocene to the early Pleistocene Epoch.
Is there anything to do in the Great Sand Sea?
While there are no specific locations or quests in the Great Sand Sea, occasional high-level event quests do appear where players can earn a special item.
Where is the Great Sand Sea located?
The Great Sand Sea, a vast sand desert, is located in the Sahara between western Egypt and eastern Libya in North Africa.
How did all the sand get in Egypt?
The sand in Egypt’s deserts was washed in by rivers or streams in less arid times, often before the area became a desert. Once the region became arid, there was no vegetation or water to hold the soil down, leading to the formation of sand dunes.
Is the Empty Quarter larger than the Sahara desert?
While the Empty Quarter on the Arabian Peninsula is the world’s largest sand sea, it holds only about half as