Gulf [ <<
Persian Gulf, also known as the Arabian Gulf, is a 600-mile-long
body of water which separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.
It covers an area of 240,000 km², and has a maximum
depth of 90 m. Its average depth is 50 meters. To the south,
the coast line is flat, while the coast on the Iranian side
is mountainous. The water temperatures are high. As a result
of evaporation being much higher than the supply of fresh
water, the salinity is as high as 4%.
Persian Gulf was created by the emergence of the Zagros
mountains in the Cenozoic. It is the basin which in this
situation is always located before a mountain range. The
basin was gradually filled with sediments from the surrounding
mountains, mostly with sand and silt and is now a great
repository for oil and gas.
Persian Gulf coast is sparsely populated. The neighbouring
mountain range acts as a wind barrier, causing air temperatures
and humidity to rise very high along the coast. Furthermore,
the annual rainfall is limited to only about 200 mm. As
a consequence, agriculture is only possible in floodplains.
non-perennial rivers only carry water during summertime,
resulting in water shortage in the remaining months. Groundwater
can not be used either, because it is contaminated with
salt from fossil salt deposits.
islands exist along the shore. Most of them consist of coral
limestone and salt depositions.
island Qeshm is the largest Persian island. It is located
in the Strait of Hormoz. In the northwest of the island
there are small areas with mangrove forest. It forms the
northernmost extension of the eastern Asian mangrove habitat.
The mangrove forest is characterized by a low diversitiy
of species. Only Avicennia marina and Rhizophora
spec. grow here.
13: mangrove forest, Qeshm (photo: V. Schick)
coast exhibits special geological features. It was formed
by tectonical uplift and deformation. It is characterized
by beach terraces which form distinct cliff lines in parts
of the coast.
Persian Gulf is very important for international trading
connections. Several harbours are located along the coast.
The most important harbour is Bandar-e-Abbas. Another important
industrial sector is the petrol and gas industry. In the
shallow northern part of the Persian Gulf, offshore oil
production is practised.
Valeria Schick, Franziska Volland-Voigt
E. (1980): Iran, 596 S., Darmstadt.