Friday 13 September 2013

Research: Harrat Khaybar

For quite some time now I have been working on a large group of kites we found in a high resolution window in Google Earth around the ancient oasis and site of Khaybar. The huge concentration of kites fascinated us, so we have been conducting a comprehensive study and gathering data on the kites. This has included taking measurements, mapping, drawing and creating typologies.

While I have been working away I have constantly been struck by the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality, and wondered what lay behind the fuzzy pixels of the lower resolution imagery around my high resolution window in Google Earth. Well, that was answered for me today by Bing maps. My window has been completely blown open, and though for brevity and time’s sake I shall no doubt have to limit my study to the original window in Google Earth, the additional information provided by the larger context is incredibly helpful.

Firstly, I can confirm my suspicions of patterns:– the amazing series of kites that almost appear strung together by their tails that are located to the east of Khaybar have sister strings to the south of the high resolution window.
A string of Kites from east of Khaybar (drawn: Rebecca Banks).
Secondly, a report with accompanying photography by M. John Roobol and Victor E. Camp in their ‘Explanatory Notes to the Geologic Map of the Cenozoic Lava Fields of Harrats Khaybar, Ithnayn, and Kura, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’ (1991) that showed what appeared to be a Kite stratified underneath a tongue of Pahoehoe lava of the Habir flow could be identified in the satellite imagery. The area reveals at least one Kite partly overlain by the lava flow – and several other stone structures as well. The Habir flow is ‘historic’ but the exact date is unknown – the eruption date could be anything between the 1st century AD and 1800 (Roobol & Camp: 23).

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