A tropical desert consists of barren land over which rainfall is too limited to support vegetation. So why are such desolate and hostile places, like deserts, important to study?
Firstly, desert studies help us predict possible future changes to the environment and how to avoid damaging it. In his book The Desert of Southeast Arabia, Ken Glennie takes us on a journey back in time to when Arabia was a much greener place, and he explains how global climate made it so barren.
Secondly, in many parts of the world, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Europe's North Sea and the United States, hydrocarbons are found in ancient dune sand reservoirs. Can we unravel the depositional and stratigraphical intricacies of these ancient gas- and oil-bearing reservoirs by studying modern deserts? Ken pioneered the answer to this question with his studies of both modern deserts and the reservoirs of the Permian Rotliegend Red Beds of northwest Europe.
Ken started writing this book 10 years ago for students; this is one reason for the extensive Glossary at the back. After many modifications and revisions, his book now provides a different perspective to a well-known topic. Its simplicity, detailed descriptions and illustrations will undoubtedly appeal to students, desert travelers and scientists. Of great value, especially when used in conjunction with studies on the ground, are the satellite images (Landsat) seen here in spectacular colour. None of these images, however, can replace seeing the desert rocks and sediments first hand. In this book, Ken shares his vast knowledge of the Arabian Desert, and exquisite collection of photos taken on the ground and from the air.