March 5, 2011

Jebel Misht: Accretionary Wedge #32

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

I am participating in my first Accretionary Wedge- yay! For those of you who don’t know, the Accretionary Wedge is a monthly “geology blog carnival” where geobloggers of all kinds are invited to blog on a theme.

I contemplated participating in the past two Accretionary Wedges, but I’m very busy with my thesis this winter. Therefore, I didn’t quite have enough time and energy to bake something for Accretionary Wedge #30 or to write about something I was surprised to learn for Accretionary Wedge #31.  This month’s Accretionary Wedge is easy, though! For Accretionary Wedge #32, I just have to post my favorite geology picture.

One of my favorite geology pictures (I have several- so difficult to chose!) is a picture of my favorite campsite ever. The picture below shows a makeshift campsite just off a road in northern Oman. The beautiful mountain in the background is Jebel Misht, one of several exotic limestones in the middle of the Samail Ophiolite. I was lucky enough to spend a few nights at this campsite in 2009 and 2010 as part of my PhD thesis fieldwork. One of my field sites, located near the small village of Al-Bana and close to the Misht campsite, has been named “Jebel Misht Travertine” by my research group.

Jebel Misht is a popular climbing destination. Making your way up the tall southeast cliff is not an easy task.  When a French team of climbers accomplished the first successful ascent of Jebel Misht in 1979, the Sultan of Oman arranged to have the climbers picked up by helicopter from the top of the mountain and whisked off to the palace for a celebration. Jebel Misht means “Comb Mountain” in Arabic. Indeed, the mountain’s majestic cliff resembles a gigantic comb resting peacefully amidst the seafloor rocks of the ophiolite.

Jebel Misht campsite, Oman, January 2009.