Desert rose made of naturally formed gypsum crystals collected from Umm Bab
Shaping the Qatar Peninsula (Quaternary)
Object Name: Desert Rose Crystal
Period: Shaping the Qatar Peninsula (Quaternary)
Date: 7 million – 4,000 years ago
Provenance: Gift - 24/4/13 - Taylor, Norman
Dimensions: 58 mm (H) x 68 mm (W) x 71 mm (D) 191.7 g (Wt)
Medium: gypsum
Registration Number: QNM.2013.88.99
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Umm Bab
The object is a small light brown desert rose, which is a naturally formed gypsum crystal rosette. Desert roses are made of gypsum as a result of a long-term process and can be found below the surface of coastal or inland sabkhas. The extremely high evaporation rates in sabkhas cause the groundwater to reach salinity levels higher than that of seawater, allowing gypsum, a calcium sulfate mineral, to precipitate and form desert roses. The color of desert roses depends on the sediment incorporated into the crystal structure. Desert roses are a common feature of Qatar's coastal and inland sabkhas, such as Khor Al-Adaid. The specimen was found in the sabkha at Umm Bab, which was formed during the Holocene period.
The waters of the Gulf rose and fell as glaciers retreated and advanced across the world. Sea levels stabilised around 4,000 years ago, defining the coastline of Qatar as we know it today.
Displayed here are desert roses. These clusters of minerals and sand grains occur when salty ground water evaporates in very dry conditions. They probably formed in the past 6,000 years, when Qatar became arid enough for them to develop. Desert roses inspired the architecture of the National Museum of Qatar
Umm Bab