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Eastern Desert,c.86,000 sq mi (222,740 sq km), E Egypt, bordered by the Nile valley in the west and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez in the east. It extends along most of Egypt's eastern border and merges into the Nubian Desert in the south. The Arabian Desert is sparsely populated; most of its inhabitants are based around wells and springs. Today most of the desert can be accessed by roads. Since ancient times Egypt has used the porphyry, granite, limestone, and sandstone found in the desert mountains as building materials. Oil is produced in the north. The name Arabian Desert is also commonly applied to the desert of the Arabian Peninsula.
a desert in Africa (United Arab Republic of Egypt) in the northeastern Sahara between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. In the south (22° N lat.) it becomes the Nubian Desert. Large sections of the Arabian Desert consist of pebbly, sandy, and calcareous plateaus (ham-mada), which gradually rise from the west to the east. On the east, along the shore of the Red Sea, rises the crystalline ridge Atbay (city of Shayb al-Banat, 2,184 m). In winter periodic rainfalls carried by the northeastern winds from the Red Sea fall on its eastern slopes. They cause violent but short runoffs in the usually dry valleys. The underground drainage, which is conserved for the entire year, supports a sparse xerophytic, herbaceous shrublike vegetation in the valleys and occasional trees—acacia, tamarisk, sycamore, date palm, and doom palm (in the south). The population, primarily nomadic, raises livestock (goats, sheep, and camels). Agriculture is found in the occasional oases. On the shores of the Red Sea crude oil production and phosphorite mining are found.