Dissertation AbstractThe Al-Husainiya Valley: A study in dry land geography [Archives:2004/738/Education]

May 17 2004

Dr. Hussein Gatrib
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
Vice-Dean, Faculty of Education, Al-Mahweet.

The dissertation titled 'The Al-Hussainiya Valley: A study in dry land geography” was submitted to Baghdad University, Iraq in 1996. The research pertains to the area of Natural Geography (Geo Morphology)
The research investigates the structures of the surface of Al-Hussainiya Wadi which is one of the main constituents of Howran Wadi in the Iraqi western desert, close to Al-Rotba region. It is primarily a dry valley that forms more than half of Iraq and about 80% of the Arabia.
Chapter I presents detailed information about the region, its inhabitants and its hydrological features.
Chapter 2 discusses at some length the natural resources available there, which comprise the geological structure, the climatic factors, the natural botanical cover and kinds of soil.
Chapter 3 studies the surface structure of the region in question in two parts: the first part looks at the surface structures resulting from erosion and corrosion, while the second part studies the surface structures that appeared because of the geographical process of sedimentation.
The last chapter contains six parts that covers areas such as the use of the current and prospective land for settlement, water resources, grazing, planting, mining and for military purposes.
Al-Hussainiya Valley lies in the western desert, between dry-regions and other regions which are not completely dry. These regions are characterized by hot weather. Due to the impact of this weather, there are constraints on agricultural activities. Consequent upon a lack of irrigation facilities, the types of trees which grow there are capable of withstanding the drought conditions and temperature fluctuations. Water is carried by pipes and the irrigation is carried through at the end of the day or during night with a view to reducing the loss of water due to evaporation as well as for the purpose of saving water.
The location of the valley makes transportation easy. As such it is accessible from the Baghdad-Oman side through two paved roads connecting the low and high parts.
This valley is one of the regions which appears to be sparsely populated.
Its surface has complete natural characteristics, that facilitates the flowing of rain water in large areas from the stony surfaces there. Eventually it is possible to collect large quantities of water in the low areas in that valley, to be used for irrigation purposes and for improving the grass and pasture in low areas. As a result, it becomes like a reservoir of water under the surface of the earth. However large scale deposits of lime stones have enriched the water with calcium, and magnesium salts that give the water a bitter taste rendering it unsuitable for drinking.
Natural plants are found in groups consisting of long-living as well as seasonal plants. The topographic conditions play a significant role in determining the location of these plants. In low land, the weather is wet and natural pasture appear in different regions, plentily during the spring season, and thinly in other seasons as a result of the climatic effects. The dead plants are usually used for fuel.
The natural plants spread over the area are deeply affected by the topographic factors, level of humidity in low areas, and so forth. The natural green belt appears pervasively during the spring time and is marked by degeneration in the rest of the seasons. The extent of agricultural cultivation depends on the quantum of rain water and ground water reserve. This facilitates rearing of a great number of sheep and encourages the nomads to settle in one place.
The region has a built reservoir which is distinctive from the quality of the ground water. It contains sedimentary rocks that characterize several geological formations which increase in density towards the middle region. This indicates that sedimentation is environmentally determined. This explains the favorable chances of the ground water in the area for industrial purposes.
There have been several attempts to extract the iron ore from this region. Rich deposits of aluminum ore have also been identified in the region. The extensive areas in the western desert like Khara, and Tarifawi seem suitable for setting up of steel and aluminum plants in the Mahour plain in view of its easy accessibility.

(Translated into English by Dr., Bushra Sadoon in cooperation with Khalid Al-Quzahy

Dr. Hussein Gatrib was born in 1958 in a village called Basamas in Ariha area, Idleb province, Syria. He graduated from the university of Baghdad securing the first position in 1996 in the same field of specialization. Dr. Hussein has published a number of research papers in several reputed journals.