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The Umm al Samim (Arabic: أم السّميم‎) (also known as the Umm as Samim) is a quicksand area[1][2] on the eastern edge of the Rub al'khali desert largely within Oman's borders.[3] The waters, such as they are, drain into this brackish low-lying closed basin area off the Omani mountains and the wadis of the Rub al'khali. The Al Samim (known locally as the 'Mother of Poisons' or the 'Mother of Worries') is a salt marsh with a solid-looking crust but can be very treacherous when broken through. There is little vegetation.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger was the first European to see the area in the late 1940s after his travels from Salalah in Oman.[2]


  1. ^ Rabi, Uzi (2006). The Emergence of States in a Tribal Society: Oman Under Saʻid Bin Taymur, 1932-1970. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 235–. ISBN 9781845190804. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b Maitland, Alexander (2011-10-27). Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer. Penguin. ISBN 9781590209950. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  3. ^ Ham, Anthony (2004). Lonely Planet Saudi Arabia. Lonely Planet. pp. 144–. ISBN 9781740596671. Retrieved 14 April 2013.

Coordinates: 21°38′N 55°54′E / 21.633°N 55.900°E / 21.633; 55.900