GUtech hosts course on carbonate rocks

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MUSCAT: Carbonate rocks are widely distributed on Earth and are a fantastic window into Earth history and climate evolution. “They host huge reserves on oil, gas and water, and were formed by organisms living millions of years ago. Therefore, they represent excellent archives for reconstructing the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere. Moreover even today’s climate is influenced by carbonate deposition, as carbonate formation has a high impact on the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere,” said Prof Dr Axel Munnecke, Geoscientist at the University of Erlangen, Germany.
Research on carbonate rocks therefore attracts geologist from both industry and universities worldwide. “Our vision is to connect theory and practice. Therefore, GUtech is honoured to host the prestigious course which is usually held in Germany,” said Prof Dr Ing Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.
Prof Munnecke is currently conducting the famous International Carbonate Course together with Prof Dr Michaela Bernecker (GUtech) and Prof Dr Frank Mattern (SQU) at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.
The course usually takes place at the University of Erlangen. During the one-week course inside the GUtech geosciences laboratory the students study the one of a kind carbonate thin section collection in order to understand the production and sedimentation of carbonate rocks, as well as their later alteration. For this purpose, the so-called “thin sections” are investigated using microscopes.
Thin sections are polished carbonate rock samples that have been glued to a glass plate and ground down to a thickness of about 30 µm so that they become translucent and can be investigated in detail with a microscope. The students have the unique possibility to study together with the renowned experts thin sections from modern environments to rocks almost half a billion years old, from shallow- to deep-water environments, and from polar regions to the equator.
The aim of the course is to train the students in describing, classifying, and interpreting these samples. Moreover, one day before the indoor sessions started the scientist went on a field workshop to the Saiq Plateau in Jabal Al Akhdhar. At this place the researchers studied the famous Permian coral reefs, which are about 260 million years old, and represent an important window into Earth’s history.
Up to today, this unique course has been conducted in various countries worldwide such as Nigeria, Egypt, Greece, China and Austria. So far already more than 2,000 students and professionals in the fields of geosciences, petroleum geosciences, and hydrogeology have attended this course.