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About ABC/J Geology Trip

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

ABJC/J is a group of students from Germany. They are studying geology, geography or geophysics and meteorology and now explore a completely different environment from what they know so far. It's a interdisciplinary group and also, the students belong to different universities: Aachen, Cologne and Bonn. These universities belong to a geoscientific network called ABC/J.

This students group is led by Prof. Gösta Hoffmann, his PhD student Valeska Decker and Prof. Peter Kukla.

Prof. Hoffmann is an expert for this country as he is Prof at the German University of Technology (GUtech) in Oman since 2008. His research topics include environmental processes, mainly climate and sea level change within the last 2 mio. years.

ABC/J is running this field trip every year since 2013, always with the logistic support of Golden Highlands.

The students gain knowledge about the very special geology of this country and also about archeology and local botany. Additionally, they get insight into the Omani culture, first day they went to the Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque for example.

Secon day, first stop was a rock named eclogite which developed deep down in the earth where temperatures of about 700 ^C and pressures of 10 kbar.

On the picture below, you can see the eclogite with red garnet in it.

The ABC/J students went also to the amazing Wadi Shab. It's the most popular Wadi with perannial waterflow. Geology is fascinating there as it's an open karstified system you can walk in. Karstification is a process of dissolving limestone by water. This process creates caves of different size.

Water infiltrates and flows through the cave system till it is stopped by the unpermeable ophiolithe layer below. Here water comes out of the mountains and creates springs. This is the where oasises can develope and agriculture takes place.

Later on they visited Bimmah sinkhole which is a large hole in the ground, partly filled with water. It has the arabic name 'Hawiyat Najm', which means 'hole in the ground which was created by a star falling down'. But there is no geological evidence for this. The explanation is again the karstification which created a cave whose ceiling collapsed once apon a time. The water is a mixture of infiltrated freshwater and seawater from the nearby Gulf of Oman.

We also investigated the coastel area of northern Oman. The tectonic setting is mainly characterised by the anticlockwise movement of the Arabian Plate. Where it hits the Eurasian Plate there is the so called Makran subduction zone. This zone is active and can cause earthquakes which in turn result in tsunami waves. Evidences for former events are a huge bolder located near Fins. The weight is about 110 t. The tsunami that moved this huge stone you can see on the picture must have taken place about 1000 years ago. Today the Makran subduction zone is still active and there is a tsunami warning center which measures anomalies of wave action...

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Author : Valeska Decker

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