Oman’s MHT implementing projects to preserve geological heritage

Muscat: The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is implementing a number of projects aimed at preserving and enhancing the definition of the geological heritage of the Sultanate of Oman, which has developed over millions of years, forming a unique diversity, and represents an attraction factor that can be benefited from by supporting it as a tourism product, and this heritage includes unique natural sites.

One of its kind with exceptional geological value and the fossils and meteorites discovered. The Sultanate of Oman is rich in a distinctive geological heritage and an authentic environmental nature, which makes it a destination for those wishing to explore the geological nature through various options between rocky and watery, and between valleys, springs and sand, to paint an aesthetic geological picture that extends over a wide geographical richness surrounded by mountains and caves, and often intersects with a group of Islands and creeks.

Eng. Hussein bin Ali Al-Ghafri, Director of the Geological Heritage Department at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said: The Ministry implemented the annual field survey program, in addition to installing special devices to monitor meteorites within the project to monitor the fall of meteorites, which is based on distributing devices to monitor the fall of meteorites in various locations in the Sultanate of Oman in cooperation with a team. It includes specialized scientists from the University of Bern and the Natural History Museum in Bern, Switzerland, with technical support from a specialized team at Curtin University in Australia.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is also working on a systematic program to document meteorites in the Sultanate of Oman annually. It has documented more than 7,000 meteorites so far. The engineer, director of the Department of Geological Heritage, stated that a number of geologists are coming to the Sultanate of Oman to study these meteorites that fell on Omani lands, which include meteorites that fell from the planet Mars, and another type consisting of chondrite rock. These meteorites allow scientists to know the original composition of the planets without any Changes similar to changes that occur on the surface of the Earth, so they represent geological, scientific and economic value.

The Department of Geological Heritage worked on a number of other projects, such as recovering meteorites that were sent to the Natural History Museum in Bern, Switzerland, for the purpose of study and chemical analysis, in addition to other projects that aim in their entirety to use digital solutions and follow the best digital and scientific practices in the field of research and study of meteorites, and these resulted in Efforts resulted in documenting and recovering more than 7,000 meteorite pieces weighing more than 6,000 kilograms.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism also seeks to preserve meteorites, ensure their sustainability, and study, preserve and invest them in accordance with scientific principles and the best international practices followed.

The Director of the Geological Heritage Department at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism said: The Ministry is preparing the requirements for the geopark project, which is an area with specific geographical boundaries, and contains geological sites and landscapes of exceptional global importance and value. It is managed with the concept of comprehensive management and has a legal status recognized under legislation and laws, and is concerned with aspects of preservation. Education, research and sustainable development in its economic, environmental, social and tourism sectors, as the park will include a wide range of science and knowledge, and its importance will increase when it contains an additional group of components, on top of which is geological heritage.

He added that the economic importance of registering the geopark project (registration in the Global Geoparks) is to contribute to enhancing geological and natural tourism, to contribute to the process of sustainability and diversification of the economic aspect and environmental protection. Since the transfer of jurisdiction over geological heritage pursuant to Royal Decree (37/2019), the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has worked to study geopark projects in the Sultanate of Oman through a team that includes several relevant government agencies, in cooperation with the Oman Geological Society and Petroleum Development Oman.

The Department of Geological Heritage also held a geological heritage exhibition entitled “Sustainability and Job Opportunities” to celebrate the diversity of the museum system that enhances heritage and tourist destinations in various governorates, and to introduce the importance of geological heritage in the Sultanate of Oman, preserving it and ensuring its sustainability. The distinctive pieces of geological heritage that abound in the Sultanate of Oman were displayed, the oldest of which was a fossil that was about 800 million years old, three-dimensional scientific models of the extinct primitive elephant whose fossilized teeth were found in the “Eidam” area in the Dhofar Governorate, and the model of the extinct dinosaur that was discovered. Remnants of his fossilized bones were found in the Al Khoud area in the Wilayat of Seeb, and other unique geological fossils.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism works to empower geology and its role in enriching the tourism sector, as geologists can lead opportunities to explore caves, choose the most suitable areas for climbing mountain slopes, and link with the Ministry’s program for developing adventure tourism. They can also lead trips to mountainous areas through specific paths characterized by their many natural and touristic aspects. To explain these features, rock types and geological history.

The Department of Geological Heritage seeks to inform the local community, university and school students, interested parties, visitors, and all tourists about meteorites.

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