In geography, an oasis is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area (often a date palm grove) in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases also provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants.

Oases are made fertile when sources of freshwater, such as underground rivers or aquifers, irrigate the surface naturally or via man-made wells. The presence of water on the surface or underground is necessary and the local or regional management of this essential resource is strategic, but not sufficient to create such areas: continuous human work and know-how (a technical and social culture) are essential to maintain such ecosystems.

Rain showers provide subterranean water to sustain natural oases, such as the Tuat. Substrata of impermeable rock and stone can trap water and retain it in pockets, or on long faulting subsurface ridges or volcanic dikes water can collect and percolate to the surface. Any incidence of water is then used by migrating birds, which also pass seeds with their droppings which will grow at the water's edge forming an oasis. It can also be used to plant crops.

More Info: