Pictures taken from the space
shuttle find lost city of Ubar
Feb. 5, 1992...The lost city of Ubar, called "the Atlantis of the
Sands" by Lawrence of Arabia, has been found in remote southern Oman using pictures
taken from space shuttle Challenger, explorers said Tuesday.
The researchers speculate that the city may have been the earliest known shipping
center for frankincense, a fragrant gum resin harvested farther south. The researchers
have to overcome sandstorms and deadly vipers to locate the city's octagon-shaped stone
walls, 6- to 8-foot-tall remnants of seven of its eight 30-foot-tall mud-brick towers,
various rooms, frankincense burners and thousands of pieces of pottery.
Researchers found the city by tracing ancient desert roads detected in pictures taken
from several spacecraft, including radar and optical cameras carried by Challenger in
October 1984, said Ronald Blom, a geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena. Evidence indicates that the city fell into a sinkhole created when an underground
limestone cavern collapsed. According to legend, Ubar was destroyed during a disaster
about C.E. 100 and was buried by sand. The city probably had fewer than 100 residents, but
was surrounded by numerous campsites marked by pottery, firepits and charcoal.
Previous efforts to find Ubar in Oman's dunes failed in 1930, 1947 and 1953.
The lost city's relationship with the nation of 'Ad as
mentioned in the Holy Quran is unclear.
Below is just one reference to the people of 'Ad in the Holy Quran.
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
By the Break of Day; By the Nights twice five; By the Even and Odd (contrasted); And by
the Night when it passeth away; Is there (not) in these an adjuration (or evidence) for
those who understand? Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the `Ad (people); Of the
(city of) Iram, with lofty pillars; The like of which were not produced in (all) the land?
And with the Thamud (people), who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley? And with Pharaoh,
Lord of Stakes? (All) these transgressed Beyond bounds in the lands. And heaped therein
Mischief (on mischief). Therefore did thy Lord pour on them a scourge of diverse
chastisement: For thy Lord is (As a Guardian) on a watch-tower. (Holy Quran,Surah Al-Fajr,
The ancient 'Ad are called 'Ad Iram for the reason that they
belonged to that branch of the Semitic race which descended from Iram, son of
Shem, son of Noah (peace be on him).
If the above city was destroyed around 100 C.E., then it can
not be the city of ancient 'Ad, to whom Prophet Hud (p.b.u.h.) was sent.
Acknowledgment: The picture is taken from NASA's page. Read the full story at
compiled by Ishaq Zahid