February 6, 2012
Monday Geology Picture: Crab Houses in the Sand at Barr Al-Hikman, Sultanate of Oman
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
Last month I participated in a three-day geology field trip to Barr Al-Hikman, a peninsula in Oman. On the peninsula there are numerous beautiful beaches and interesting geological features such as sabkhas and paleolagoons. We visited the peninsula to look at some recent carbonate deposits and also to investigate some modern beach features, such as the coral reefs located just off shore and the traces left on the beach by various modern critters. Yes, we went to the beach for three days. Being a geologist is fun sometimes! Seriously, though, looking at modern life traces gives geologists a better sense of how to identify trace fossils in the geologic record. If you want to learn more about traces and trace fossils, I recommend Tony Martin’s blog and forthcoming book Life Traces of the Georgia Coast. I’m certainly looking forward to the book!
I don’t normally study life traces or trace fossils, so looking at these traces in Oman was new and exciting for me. I don’t know much about the traces– other than what the field trip leaders told me– but I thought I’d share some pictures of some life traces I saw at Barr Al-Hikman. In this post I’m sharing some pictures of holes with piles of sand next to them. Apparently, these holes were dug by crabs. I’m not sure of the exact species. Does anyone know? I spotted a likely suspect a few meters from the holes.
Update: People who are better at this biology stuff than me inform me that the crab is most likely a species of ghost crab (Ocypode) and that the “living shell thingies” are some type of gastropod.
Confirming both of those! Looked up the species of Ocypode in Oman, and that would be Ocypode saratan. the one on the east coast of the U.S. and throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean is O. quadrata. The gastropods? Not sure which species, but looks similar to either a mud snail (Ilyanassa obsoleta) or common mud snail (Nassarius vibex) here in Georgia.
[…] post yesterday about the crab houses in the sand at Barr Al-Hikman turned out to be quite popular, so I […]
[…] some more pictures from my trip in January to Barr Al-Hikman, Oman. A few weeks ago, I posted about some crabs and their traces at Barr Al-Hikman. This week I am sharing some pictures of some large, beautiful, […]
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