Qatar is a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf covering an area of approximately 11 000 km2 including a number of small offshore islands. Its maximum length is about 180 km along the north-south axis, while the east-west width is 85 km at its widest point. It is bounded by the Persian Gulf on all sides except in the south where it touches the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
The elevation of the country decreases from 100 m above sea level in the south to less than 50 m in the north. Qatar is a rocky desert area with scattered oases formed by 850 separate depressions. In these depressions colluvial soils made up of calcareous loam, sandy loam and sandy clay loam have accumulated to depths ranging from 30 to 150 cm, overlying limestone debris and bedrock. These depression soils are locally known as rodat and constitute the main agricultural soils of the country. Highly saline depression soils, locally known as sabkha, occur mainly along the coasts of Umm Said, Dukhan and the southern boundary of Qatar. In southern Qatar the depressions are often more crater-like in appearance, with the bottoms usually covered by aeolian sands.
- The total cultivated area is 6 322 ha, including 67 ha of greenhouses .The total area of arable land is 2 651 ha, which includes 1 190 ha of vegetable crops and
1 461 ha of field crops.
- The area under permanent crops amounts to 3 412 ha and comprises 1 478 ha of perennials and forage crops and 1 934 ha of fruit trees (DAWR, 2002).
- The land suitable for irrigation is 52 128 ha and most of it is classified as having marginal suitability for irrigation (Awiplan Qatar & Jena-Geos, 2005). All cultivated areas are irrigated thus representing 12.1 percent of the land suitable for irrigation.
Slightly smaller in area than the U.S. state of Connecticut, the Qatar peninsula is about 100 miles (160 km) from north to south, 50 miles (80 km) from east to west, and is generally rectangular in shape. It shares a border with eastern Saudi Arabia where the peninsula connects to the mainland and is north and west of the United Arab Emirates. The island country of Bahrain lies some 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Qatar. A territorial dispute with Bahrain was resolved in 2001, when the International Court of Justice awarded the Ḥawār Islands (just off the coast of Qatar) to Bahrain and gave Qatar sovereignty over Janān Island and the ruined fortress-town of Al-Zubārah (on the Qatari mainland). That year Qatar also signed a final border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia.
Relief and drainage
Most of Qatar’s area is flat, low-lying desert, which rises from the east to a central limestone plateau. Hills rise to about 130 feet (40 metres) along the western and northern coasts, and Abū al-Bawl Hill (335 feet [103 metres]) is the country’s highest point. Sand dunes and salt flats, or sabkhahs, are the chief topographical features of the southern and southeastern sectors. Qatar has more than 350 miles (560 km) of coastline; its border with Saudi Arabia is some 37 miles (60 km) long. There are no permanent bodies of fresh water.