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Open map of EgyptFlag of EgyptEgypt / Geography /
Qattara
Arabic: munkhafad 'al-qatāra




Qattara depression, Egypt.
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Qattara depression

Qattara depression, Egypt.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Qattara depression, Egypt.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Qattara depression, Egypt.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Depression in western Egypt, in the Libyan desert, with a size of 19,500 kmē, up to 220 km long, and 120 km at its widest.
The depression has a max depth of 133 metres below sea level. In its north and west, the depression is clearly marked by a dramatic escarpment. The southern and eastern sides form slowly climbing sides.
The depression is dominated by rocks and sandy desert, salty dry lakes form about a quarter of the area. There are a few marshes. There are no settlements, but a few oases. The largest is the Moghra, within which there is a 4 km² brackish lake. The Moghra is the centre of the only few people living here, the few families of nomadic Bedouins. There is some vegetation, groves of Acacia raddiana is the only permanent. There is some animal life, counting cheetah, gazelle, hare, jackal, fox.
The Qattara depression was the reason for one of the most famous World War 2 battles of North Africa, the Battle of El-Alamein: The depression narrowed the passable regions along the coast, forcing German and British armeies to face one another in October and November 1942.
There have been propositions to flood the depression with Mediterranean waters, aiming at creating a new habitable region and hydroelectric power (exploting the drop from sea level). This would have necessitated a 80 km long canal from the ocean to the escarpment of the depression. In the plans proposed through the 20th century, a lake at 90 metres below sea level would be formed. In this the evaporation would be so quick to allow a substantial flow of water




By Tore Kjeilen