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Oasis

Oasis is the name given to any fertile area in a desert. Oases vary in size from small clumps of palm trees, with sparse vegetation, to huge areas as big as a large city. Damascus, in Syria, for example, is a city founded in a huge oasis. The reason for the existence of oases is that rivers around a desert's edge may disappear underground, but they continue to percolate through the rocks beneath the arid sands. Where the water rises to the surface in springs an oasis occurs. But the water may also be tapped by sinking wells.

Desert soil may be extremely fertile, with only water lacking to make it useful to man. Oases are natural stops for traveling caravans. Two well known caravan centers are the oases at Murzuk, in Libya, and Buraida, in Saudi Arabia. But the greatest oasis of all is in Egypt, where for thousands of years life has depended upon careful use of the waters of the Nile.

Oasis

Oases occur at places in the desert where underground water reaches the surface. The diagram shows how water may seep to the surface along a fault (break) in the rock. Oases also occur at places where men have dug wells to tap underground water-bearing rocks

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