The western Nefud from the air

In January 2016, colleagues from the Palaeodeserts project and Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) performed a collaborative aerial survey of locations across the western Nefud.
PB - 3

Dr’s Armitage and Groucutt surveying the Nefud from the air


Sampling - PB 2

Dr Iyad Zalmout of the SGS and the SGS helicopter

The use of the SGS helicopter allowed the team to examine numerous new locations deep in the Nefud, where major lake sediment outcrops testify to much wetter episodes in the past of this arid area.


In combination with the analysis of satellite datasets, the results of these collaborative expeditions are revealing the overall distribution of surviving lake sediments, fossils and archaeology across the whole western Nefud, including areas away from the accessible desert fringes.

The team sampling and surveying deep in the Nefud desert

The team sampling and surveying deep in the Nefud desert

By using these data, and dating the lake sediments and archaeology and fossils that highlight their former exploitation by prehistoric populations and animals, the team is gradually forming a picture of how the environments and occupation of this area of the Nefud have changed over prehistory.