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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Nick Rosser

Goudie, A.S., Migon, P., Allison, R.J. & Rosser, N.J. Sandstone geomorphology of the Al-Quwayra area of south Jordan. Zeitschrift Fur Geomorphologie. 2002;46:365-390.

Author(s) from Durham


In southern Jordan, in the vicinity of Al-Quwayra and Wadi Rum, there is an area of Cambrian/Ordovician sandstones that produces some of the most spectacular desert sandstone relief on Earth. Low angle plains separate large inselbergs, which are characterised by steep cliffs, major alcoves, natural arches, many rockfalls, a lack of talus, and the development of remarkable columnar weathering networks. Data are presented on the morphometry of these weathering phenomena, their Schmidt Hammer hardness values, and their salt chemistry. It is proposed that case hardening and salt weathering are crucial processes in the development of the weathering forms. A discussion is provided on the distribution, age and geotechnical relationships of the rockfalls, together with a description of the ramp slopes that extend from the bases of the cliffs. The absence of talus is a characteristic that the slopes of the area share with many of the sandstone slopes of the Colorado Plateau.