February 6, 2012

Monday Geology Picture: Crab Houses in the Sand at Barr Al-Hikman, Sultanate of Oman

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Crab house in the sand #1. Barr al-Hikman, Oman, January 2012.

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.

Crab house in the sand #2. Barr al-Hikman, Oman, January 2012.

Numerous crab holes and piles of sand, with our Land Cruisers in the distance. Barr Al-Hikman, Oman, January 2012.

A likely suspect for the house-builder. And look at those traces being left by the living shell thingies (yes, I am the worst biologist ever). Barr Al-Hikman, Oman, January 2012.

Mr. Crab... and some geologists in the background. Barr Al-Hikman, Oman, January 2012.