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Beauty has an address ~ Oman

Muscat Geosites

In Oman, geological stories can be found everywhere. Some are presented on a dramatic scale such as in the massive folding and faulting that can be seen on parts of Oman's 700 km long mountain range. Echoes of momentous geological events can even be found in the hustle and bustle of urban areas. For example visitors to Muscat Corniche need only to look at the surrounding hills in order to imagine the scene around 90 million years ago, when these Ophiolite rocks were part of a several kilometer thick slab of oceanic crust slowly being pushed over the top of the northern coastline of Oman. This unusual over thrusting continued for around 20 Million years, pushing rocks that originated from deep below the ocean, hundreds of kilometers inland.

30 geoheritage sites have been selected in the Muscat region for you to explore, and on the way to learn more about the history of our planet. Each site can be visited either on its own or as part of a discovery trail. Wherever the topography of a location allows, you will find sign boards with illustrated information about the site. Free of charge i-tourguide applications for smart phones can be downloaded from either the link below or the bar code on the signboard. These enable guidance utilizing satellite navigation (GPS) and provide multimedia information to give you a better understanding of the geological processes.

to download please click here:

Al Awabi quartzite

The Cretaceous quartzite here originated in the time of the dinosaurs around 90 million years ago. The quartzite was originally sandstone. It changed its structure (metamorphosed) under heavy pressure...
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Al Fahal Island

Al Fahal Island (Shark Island) is situated around 4km from the mainland and has an area of just 2.24 km2. It is composed mostly of around 55 to 35 million year old Eocene limestone and marl. This lim...
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Al Jabal Al Aswad

This magnificent landscape is dominated by a cliff which shows the contact between Ordovician Amdah quartzite at the base which was deposited nearly 500million years ago in a shallow marine environmen...
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Al Khoud Unconformity

Around 34 to 23 million years ago, this part of Oman was much lower than it is today and covered by a shallow sea. The Mid Tertiary limestone originally formed in horizontal layers on the sea floor. O...
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Al Khayran

Al Khayran is an area of great geological and biological diversity. It features drowned river valleys creating islands and fjord like coastline, several types of rock formations, extensive mangrove wo...
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Ayn Al Hammam Hot Spring

The Ayn Al Hammam hot spring is situated at a huge fault structure, separating Triassic dolomite (sedimentary rocks) from ophiolite (volcanic rocks). They were brought together in a huge tectonic move...
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A’Sifah Eclogite

This huge outcrop of green rock contains eclogite, a special kind of metamorphic rock; that is rock changed by pressure and/or heat. This particular rock has been on one of the hardest journeys imagin...
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Bawsher marble

In this part of the city, modern Muscat meets old traditional buildings and directly faces the Hajar Mountains. The light coloured rock here is considered to be the best marble deposit in Oman due to ...
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Coastal erosion

The Al Khiran coast is shaped mainly by the erosional influences of wind, rain and sea. The action of the sea slowly wears away at the base of the cliffs of these relatively soft rocks; undercutting t...
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Concentric fold

This beautiful fold contains limestone which developed 250 million years ago in a former ocean called the Tethys. It was located in what is now the north of Oman. The ocean closed when the oceanic cru...
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Eye fold

In the center of this cliff is a circular structure, giving the impression of a huge eye within the thick limestone beds. This ‘eye’ was formerly 250 million year old Permian limestone layers that wer...
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Intertidal ecosystem

The intertidal zone is the area of coast where the land is exposed between low tide and high tide. In the Gulf of Oman the tidal range (the difference in height between low and high tide) is only up t...
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Jurassic bedding

In this rock, different layers and folds can clearly be seen, although not all of them are parallel; some seem to consist of small folds, while others are showing huge structures. Here in the Jurassic...
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Limestone fault

By applying pressure on a rock, two things can happen: either it is soft and releases the pressure by folding or it is hard and therefore only able to fault whereby the rock unit cracks with the two s...
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Limestone landscape

The dramatic creamy textured rock in this part of Wadi Mijlas is Early Eocene limestone around 55 million years old. The rock includes thin beds of yellowish marly limestone and massive whitish nodula...
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Magnesite veins

As the ocean closed oceanic layers were pushed above the Arabian plate. The huge pressure involved in this process changed the rocks appearance and order. Layers were folded, broken and also turned ar...
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Mangrove forest

The green trees growing in the sea to the left are black mangroves (Avicenia marina’ or Qurm in Arabic). These are one of the few trees which can live in salty conditions. They prefer bays such as tho...
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Mega fold

This huge fold shows the enormous stress that has been placed on the rock. This Permian sedimentary limestone rock is around 250 million years old. It was formed when Oman was covered by the Tethys; ...
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Mega syncline

An arch which opens upwards in a ‘u’ shape is called a syncline. Here Wadi Al Mayh flows directly across a huge syncline formed in limestone. The Permian limestone was deposited as horizontal sediment...
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Mini folds

This outcrop of Permian limestone aged around 270 million years old consists of thin layers of marine sediment deposited in the Tethys ocean, an ocean that has since closed due to movements of the ear...
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Mutrah Geotrail East

Starting in Riyam, you are now making a geological journey to the bottom of the ocean. Along the way are stunning views of Mutrah Port and the Gulf of Oman. This track was once the main land route be...
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Mutrah Geotrail West

The mountains here are made of ophiolite, a rock which developed out of magma from beneath the ocean floor. It contains minerals like chrome and copper, ores which have been mined in Oman for thousan...
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Nodular Limestone

The yellow-brown rock on the banks of Wadi Al Khawd was originally the sea floor. Between 55 to 34 million years ago (Eocene) the sea was rich in marine life and the remains of marine creatures like s...
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Nummulites

Around 34 to 23 million years ago (Mid Tertiary), this rock was covered by shallow sea; an ideal environment for Nummulites of the foraminifera class. These small single celled organisms have calcite ...
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Ophiolite contact

Three kinds of rock can be seen from this scenic viewpoint. On the left hand side is darkish grey Triassic limestone around 230 million years old. This marine sediment is in contact with brown ophioli...
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Ophiolite obduction

The rock above is part of one of the most significant rock outcrops in Oman. This is the internationally renowned Samail Ophiolite. The story of the ‘landing’ of the Samail Ophiolite along Oman’s nort...
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Pillow lava

Pillow lava is part of a sequence of rocks called Ophiolites. These were originally molten rocks from beneath the ocean that have later become exposed to the surface. Pillow lava is a very hard rock w...
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Port View

The rock here was once buried under the ocean; where the oceanic crust floats on the earth’s hot mantle. These “Ophiolites” are the meeting point in between hot magma (more than 1000°C) and cold ocea...
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Ripple marks

A short walk in Wadi Amdeh will lead you to a place where nearly 500 million years ago you would have been standing on the beach on the edge of the sea shore, right in the area between high and low ti...
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Riyam view

Looking at the seas of the Gulf of Oman here it is hard to imagine this was once the scene of geologically earth shattering events. 90 million years ago, a several kilometre thick slab of the oceanic ...
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Schist bedding

This schist was originally 300 million year old argillaceous limestone - limestone with a high content of clay or silica. The layers of the limestone were later placed under great of pressure and heat...
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