20 Geosciences and Geography students from Germany explored Oman

A group of 20 students from three different universities in Germany and two Geosciences professors from RWTH Aachen University and the University of Bonn conducted a two week excursion around the North of Oman. The excursion was headed by Prof. Dr. Goesta Hoffmann a geologist at the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology, University of Bonn and Prof. Dr. Peter Kukla, Head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Group and the Geological Institute at RWTH Aachen University. Both professors have been highly involved setting-up the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech around ten years ago and continue to serve as fly-in professors. For his recent work and research in Oman, Prof. Dr. Goesta has received the Research Award of the Research Council in 2016.

“We are pleased to conduct the excursion in Oman because it is an incredibly fascinating country which to date remains beyond the realm of large mainstream tourism,” explained Prof. Goesta, who lived in Oman for six years. “With Oman being a Muslim country, the excursion also aims to promote cultural exchange between Germany and Oman,” said Prof. Goesta.  “Oman offers an exciting opportunity for integrated geographical, geoscientific and socio-economic studies and perspectives,” said Prof. Peter Kukla, who has been conducting research related to oil and gas exploration and production together with PDO for the past 15 years. Therefore, during the excursion various geoscientific questions related to the professor’s research in Oman such as the remaining oil and gas potential, future minerals and metals resources, the development of the Omani coastline as well as geographical questions were discussed. Further issues addressed were the fast transformation of the Omani landscape – coasts, deserts, oases, flora and fauna  – and the social developments in Oman. This included the transformation of the agricultural industry and the overall structural transformation and challenges Oman is facing while transforming from an oil-based economy towards a more service-oriented economy.

Towards the end of the excursion in Muscat, the group conducted a walking tour between Old Muscat and Muttrah, along an old donkey trail, where Prof. Goesta explained the development of the mountains and the remains of a several centuries old falaj system. After the tour the group visited Souq Muttrah, which has been transformed from a local market to a ‘tourist market’ in the past years, a development that was enhanced by increasing mass cruise tourism. This has caused various negative impacts such as overcrowding and the change of the overall identity of the souq. This development was explained by Manuela Gutberlet, a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography at RWTH Aachen University and PR manager at GUtech who has been conducting research on the impacts of mega cruise tourism in Oman.

For the second time Prof. Goesta Hoffmann and Prof. Peter Kukla lead this interdisciplinary excursion under the auspices of the Geoverbund ABC/J for post-graduate students and doctoral candidates from the fields of geography and geosciences of the three universities in Aachen, Bonn and Cologne and the large federal research facility in Juelich.

Geoverbund ABC/J is the geoscientific network in the research region of
Aachen–Bonn–Cologne/Jülich. It pools and interconnects the expertise and resources in research and training of its four member institutions: RWTH Aachen University, University of Bonn, University of Cologne, and Forschungszentrum Jülich. Together, the scientists of the ABC/J region identify current and future issues in the fields of the evolution of Earth, environmental dynamics, georesource management, and geohazards, as well as developing possible solutions that extend beyond the region. Founded in August 2009, Geoverbund ABC/J is committed to the continuous development of the ABC/J region, creating attractive conditions for excellent research and students’ education. As a mediator between science, politics, and society, Geoverbund ABC/J’s stated aim is to increase the visibility of the ABC/J region as a nationally and internationally renowned research region in the field of geosciences. Further information on Geoverbund ABC/J: http://www.geoverbund-abcj.de/geoverbund/EN

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