Libyan Desert, part of the Sahara. It covers some 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2) in Libya, Egypt, and Sudan and consists mainly of gravelly plains, rock outcrops, and vast areas of shifting sand dunes. Elevations generally vary from 500 to 3,000 feet (150 to 900 m). In the northeast, in Egypt, the Qattara Depression drops to 436 feet (133 m) below sea level—one of the lowest points in Africa.
The Libyan Desert is extremely dry; it often receives no rain for several years at a time. Nomadic herders traverse the region, but permanent habitation is possible only at scattered oases. The northern part of the desert was the scene of intense fighting during World War II.