Geography of Yemen
Yemen is characterized by the diversity of aspects of the surface and therefore has been divided into five major geographic regions:
The coastal plain region:
It extends sporadically along the coasts of Yemen, where the mountains and hills cut through it to reach directly to the sea waters in more than one place, therefore, the coastal plain region of Yemen comprises the following plains:
(Tehama Plain- Tuban- Abyan plain-Maifa'a Ahwar plain-the Eastern Coastal plain which lies in Almahrah governorate).
The Coastal Plain region is charac`terized by a hot climate throughout the year with little rainfalls ranging between 50-100 mm per annum . However, it is considered as an important agricultural region, especially Tihama Plain due to the large valleys that penetrate this region, with floods pouring into them thanks to rainfall on the mountainous heights.
The Mountain Highlands Region:
This region stretches along the farthest borders of Yemen on the north to the farthest point in the south. This region had undergone many formation movements that resulted in major and minor fractures some of them are parallel with the Red Sea and the other are parallel with Aden Gulf which in turn resulted in the formation of high Plateaus within which some mountainous basins were formed which are called fields or basins.
The region is rich with surface valleys that shape it into sharp sloping block , thus serve as a mountainous wall overlooking Tehama plain with sloping cliffs and peaks. This region's mountains are the highest ones in the Arabian peninsula. The average Height of which reach 2000m and its peaks reach to more than 3500m. The highest peak reaches 3666m in Alnabi Shuaib Mountain.Water dividing line lies within these mountains where water runs down through many valleys on the east, west and south. Some of these main valleys are Mawr, Haradh, Zabeed, Seham and Raisan valleys whose water all pours in the Red Sea. As for the valleys which pour into Aden Gulf and the Arab Sea, the main ones of which are Wadi Tuban, Wadi Bana and Hadramout Wadi.
The Mountainous Basins Region:
This region has mountainous plains and basins located in the Mountain Highlands, mostly located in the eastern section of of the water division line which stretches from the farthest north to the farthest south. The main basins are Yareem,Dhamar, Abar,Sana'a , Amran and Sa'ada basins.
The Plateau Areas Region:
It lies to the east and north of the Mountain Highlands and it is parallel to them. But it widens more towards the Empty Quarter and begins a gradual decline.The surface slides toward the north and the east mildly. The majority of the surface of this region is formed from rocky desert surface which is cut through by some valleys especially Hadramout and Hareeb valleys.
It is a sandy region almost devoid of flora except in the areas of rainfall courses where rain runs through after descending from mountainous areas adjacent to this region. Height of the surface ranges between 500-1000m above sea level and it slopes without terrainous discontinuity towards the north east to the center of the Empty Quarter.Climate here is severe with high temperature , scarce rainfall and low humidity.
Many islands spread along the Yemen territorial waters . They have their peculiar terrain, climate and environment. Most of these islands lie in the Red Sea of which the most significant ones are : Kamaran which is the largest inhabited island on the Red Sea as well as Hunnish Archipelago and Meon island has a strategic location in Bab Almandab strait, the southern gateway of the Red Sea. Some of the main islands on the Arab Sea are Socotra Archipelago. Socotra island is considered as the largest island in this archipelago which, in addition to Socotra Island is comprised of Samhah, Darsah and Abduljori . It is characterized by multitude of its biodiversity sinccce its plants are estimated at 680 species..