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Protecting the Geological Heritage and the Geological Tourism in the United Arab Emirates

Friday, May 29, 2020

Almost 600 million years ago, terrestrial factors and natural elements began their work to form the geology of the United Arab Emirates, with varied terrain, beautiful nature, unique geological diversity, and the presence of many distinct and rare geological features that represent a tourist attraction if they are promoted for such goal. This terrain is the result of geological processes that occurred during the Earth's history.

In most of the emirates of the country, there are unique natural sites of high geological value; and geologists from all over the world come to the country to study these unique geological features.

The country can be divided into the following regions and regions:

·         Mountainous areas.

·         Desert gravel plains.

·         Coastal areas and marshes.

·         Islands.

Each of these regions has certain geological characteristics and a special tourist attraction, as most of the population of the country inhabits the desert plains and coastal areas where the main cities are located.

Historically, the Aflaj, which are characterized by the eastern mountainous regions and the desert plains, represent a distinct system of irrigation, as these Aflaj represent man-made rivers that were built to interrupt the level of groundwater at the feet of the mountains and transport it to the surface for usage especially for agricultural purposes.

Sand dunes in the United Arab Emirates are a natural sand dunes museum, which includes most types of dunes on the surface of the earth, and cover approximately 74% of the total area of Among the types of sand dunes are longitudinal, transverse, parallel, semicircular, and stellar. And the sand dunes in Liwa Oasis rise to more than one hundred meters above the ground and contain among them unique farms known locally as (Pales); and some sand dune areas are used for some special sports such as car racing and bicycles, and in climbing dunes and skiing on sand dunes.

- Stunning mountain ranges in the country: (Ophiolite)

- The mountain region is characterized by the peculiarity of the rock sequence, which is rare in only a few regions in the world, because these rocks are their current place during the dynamic activity of the earth about 95 million years ago.

These mountains attract scientists from all over the world to visit and study them. These rocks are characterized by contrast and harmony of colors, and they form beautiful natural slopes.

Because these mountains are the rainiest areas in the country, many farms and oases have arisen in them, and many springs have burst to add to this unique beauty. Currently, some activities, like mountain climbing, is organized by some tourism entities.

 Jebel Hafeet, which is in the south of Al Ain city, extends 15 kilometers inside the country, with an average width of four kilometers and a height of 1200 meters east of Al Ain Al Faida, is a typical site for mountain climbing and exploring caves by many tourists.

The historical oases of Al Ain, Hili and Al Buraimi are tourist attractions in addition to the Al Ain Museum, castles and Aflaj.

Salt mountains:

Many of the Emirates islands, such as Delma Island, the two parts Sir Bani Yas, , and Abu Na'ir, are unique geological examples where mountains of salt and evaporation form the core of those islands that took their way from the inner of the earth to its surface millions of years ago, through rocks called the Hormuz complex, which extend to thousands of feet in depth. Flat plains and breathtaking coastal areas surround the saline core of these islands; and these, in addition to the coastal areas of the country, from the picturesque areas where alongside it grow many coral reefs in the shallow waters of the Arabian Gulf.

- The contribution of geology to enriching the tourist movement:

In addition to many other factors, geology can contribute to enriching the tourist movement activity in the country through the following activities:

1- Geologists can lead opportunities to explore the caves and choose the most appropriate areas for climbing mountain slopes. They can also lead trips to mountain areas through specific paths characterized by their multiple natural and tourist features to explain those features, types of rocks and geological history.

2- Given the influence of climate and weather conditions on archaeological sites, geology can contribute to its maintenance and preservation by selecting the most appropriate restoration material.

3- Given the presence of archaeological sites in different geological environments, exploring iron in these sites and searching for extensions of existing sites requires geological expertise in subsurface phenomena, in which it can contribute to exploring new archaeological sites; in addition to the available field capabilities of remote sensing techniques and multiple geophysical methods.

4- The negative impact of groundwater on the covering of archaeological sites may be significant and may be prevented or reduced by the participation of water geologists in studies and procedures necessary to maintain those sites.


Khalid Ali Al Hosani

Director of Department of Geology and Mineral Resources

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