From 27th February to 9th March 2016 seventeen students of the RWTH Aachen participated on a field trip to the Sultanate of Oman. The excursion, belonging to the master course “Applied Structural Geology”, was guided by Prof. Janos Urai, Dr. Christoph von Hagke, Arne Grobe and Michael Kettermann (Geology, Endogene Dynamik, GED).
Figure 1: The Group at the famous pillow lavas of Al Jizzi. (picture by Michael Kettermann)
During twelve field days, the students gained an insight into the complex geology of north Oman. Starting in its capital Muscat, the evolution of the Oman Mountains was discussed in the first days by visiting selected outcrops in the NW-SE trending mountain belt. The late Cretaceous obduction of seafloor sediments led to a thrusting of different tectonic nappes together with both brittle and ductile deformation. One of those nappes is the famous Oman Ophiolite that comprises ancient seafloor sediments and mantle material. Due to that, the students were able to see for example an ancient Moho in outcrop or one of the world’s best pillow lava outcrop (Figure 1). More to the southwest, mostly flat lying Tertiary sediments, surrounding older domal structures, are predominating the landscape. This area contains the main oil fields of Oman and is characterized by surface-piercing saltdomes whose ductile evolution process had been discussed (Figure 2). A desert called Wahiba Sands is located in northeastern Oman, where the group learned aspects about the youngest climate history of Oman (Figure 3).
Figure 2: A surface piercing saltdome. (picture by Daniel Bücken)
Figure 3: Linear, north-south trenching dunes of the Wahiba Sands. (picture by Katharina Lesche)
Figure 4: Structural Mapping at the Batain coast Radiolarites. (picture by Michael Kettermann)
Apart from the visiting and discussion of outcrop sides, the students were also provided with exercises concerning the identification and analysis of structural elements in outcrops to deepen and increase their knowledge and skills about structural geology (Figure 4). Besides the geology, also cultural aspects were not neglected, for example an early morning visit to the goat market in Nizwa (Figure 5). Although there were some unexpected incidents like heavy rainfalls and flashfloods (Figure 6) the whole field trip was one of the most exciting and instructive ones.
Therefore, we want to thank the VAG for their support of our excursion.
Jonas Heidenthal on behalf of all students
Figure 5: Nizwa goat market. (picture by Daniel Bücken)
Figure 6: Water filled Wadi after flash flood. (picture by Michael Kettermann)