GUtech stu­dents and pro­fes­sors par­tic­i­pate in Oman Drilling Project

Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

World­wide Oman is renowned for its ophi­o­lite rocks. To study their com­po­si­tion, age and pos­si­ble im­pacts on cli­mate change, a large group of in­ter­na­tional geo­sci­en­tists from var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties around the globe have been con­duct­ing the Oman Drilling Project.

GUtech is on-site part­ner dur­ing the three year project. “The Oman Drilling Project will sam­ple the whole ophi­o­lite se­quence in Oman, from the crust through to up­per man­tle, in a series of bore­holes. Data col­lec­tion in­cludes anal­y­sis of rock core, geo­phys­i­cal log­ging, fluid sam­pling, hy­dro­log­i­cal mea­sure­ments and mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal sam­pling,” said Prof Dr Michaela Ber­necker, head of the Depart­ment of Ap­plied Geo­sciences at GUtech.

“We will de­velop re­search re­lated with the aims and us­ing the core sam­ples or other data such as wa­ter and geo­phys­i­cal data of the project. Four fe­male GUtech geo­sciences stu­dents have been in­volved on site re­cently,” said Prof Ana Je­sus, a petrol­o­gist from GUtech. Prof Ana and Prof Dr Ekke­hard Holzbecher, hy­drol­o­gist of the Depart­ment of Ap­plied Geo­sciences at GUtech, are mem­bers of the sci­en­tific team and the main per­sons for li­ai­son for stu­dent in­volve­ment.

GUtech stu­dents were in­volved in the pro­cesses that are nec­es­sary for the cu­ra­tion of the rocks. “It was a great op­por­tu­nity for them to learn these pro­ce­dures within an in­ter­na­tional team”, said Dr Ana. The four GUtech stu­dents, Maisa al Bu- saidi, Nid­hal al Jah­wari, Maria al Balushi and Zahra al Lawati, worked on a drill hole in Wadi Gideah close to Ibra. “They ac­com­pa­nied the core flow, which are all the steps since the core comes from un­der­ground un­til it is fi­nally packed for ship­ping in­volv­ing, wash­ing, mea­sur­ing, pho­tograph­ing, cu­rat­ing, la­belling, sketch and log­ging, hav­ing par­tic­i­pated di­rectly on most of those op­er­a­tions as well,” said Prof Ana.

The project leader of the Oman Drilling Project, a renowned geo­sci­en­tist Prof Dr Peter Kele­men, head of the Earth and En­vi­ron­men­tal Science Pro­gramme at Columbia Univer­sity, took the GUtech stu­dents for a field-trip.

He showed them the so- called core flow on site and the lo­cal ge­ol­ogy while dis­cussing sci­en­tific ques­tions.

In ad­di­tion, sci­en­tists from other uni­ver­si­ties in the re­gion and world­wide par­tic­i­pate in the project, that was launched this year and is sched­uled to take an­other two years.

To fi­nalise the full ge­o­log­i­cal and geo­phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of the drill cores that were ob­tained this win­ter in Oman, Prof Ana will travel to Japan and work on board the Chikyu ship with an in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tific team. More than 40 nat­u­ral sci­en­tists will use these new datasets to ad­dress the sci­en­tific ques­tions re­lat­ing to the for­ma­tion, hy­dro­ther­mal al­ter­ation and weath­er­ing of the oceanic litho­sphere.

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