GUtech Geoscientist received TRC National Research Award

HALBAN For his research on natural hazards in the Sultanate of Oman, the geoscientist Prof. Dr Gösta Hoffmann from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Department of Applied Geosciences, was awarded with the National Research Award of The Research Council (TRC) yesterday evening. Prof. Dr. Gösta received the Award from H.H. Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al-Said. The award ceremony was held at the Shangri-la Barr Al Jissar Resort.

“The award is an appreciation for our constant efforts to boost research at GUtech and in the Sultanate of Oman. We are very proud to have such a brilliant scholar like Prof. Gösta amongst us. This will encourage all colleagues to conduct research activities in Oman,” said Dr. Jürgen Werner, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech.

Prof. Gösta was the principal investigator of a TRC project titled “Short- and long-term coastal evolution along the coastline of Oman”. The research team included Dr. Sultan Al-Yahyai (Public Authority for Civil Aviation, Dr. Ghazala Naeem (Disaster Risk Reduction Consultant & Architect, Resilience Group, Pakistan), Miss Mareike Kociok and Dr. Christoph Grützner of the Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards at GUtech’s partner university, RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

“In my view the greatest challenge is to combine research and teaching in Oman. Therefore, in the frame of the project, I take our BSc Applied Geosciences students to the field-work, so that they are part of the research and can experience state-of-the art technology. Therefore the students are at the frontier of science and innovation and it is a win-win situation for me as a researcher and teacher and the students,” said Prof. Gösta.

“Oman is a natural laboratory we can use to test our research hypothesis,” said Prof. Gösta. The tsunami effects on the coastal zones in Oman were documented in a scientific paper which was recently published in the highly ranked, peer-reviewed scientific journal “Geology”. The Omani-German research team conducted their research analysis on rock deposits left behind in the past by tsunami as well as by storms when in September 2013 they were surprised by a tsunami wave in the middle of the project. “The tsunami reached wave heights of around 1 m at the Omani coast. We conclude on a submarine slide off Pakistan as the likely trigger mechanism” said Prof. Gösta. On 24 September 2013 a magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred in Balochistan, Pakistan, the quake caused intense ground motions and had dramatic consequences – hundreds of people died, and more than 100,000 lost their homes. “A secondary effect which caught much attention in the international media was the birth of an island off the Pakistani coast – Zalzala Jazeera or Earthquake Island,” said Dr. Gösta.

To document the tsunami effects in Oman the researchers interviewed local fishermen in Sharquiyah region and asked if they observed any strange wave behavior. “The interviews followed the UNESCO-IOC International Tsunami Survey Team (ITST) protocol. The Omani eyewitnesses reported unusual waves during low tide, a change of water colour during the event, retreating sea before larger waves approached, strong currents they hadn’t observed before, and an unusual large amount of fish they could catch the next morning. The fishermen were so impressed by the spectacle that they recorded several videos which can be found at” said Dr Gösta.

“This tsunami was a very special earthquake environmental effect: An earthquake triggered a submarine slide, which in turn triggered a tsunami,” said Gösta. This kind of cascading effects is currently not included in any tsunami hazard assessments. The study emphasizes the need to better incorporate such mechanisms in order to better protect the public.

This tsunami study was part of a much larger research program on the coastal evolution of Oman led by Prof Dr Gösta Hoffmann (GUtech). More than ten scientists from six countries (including Oman, Sweden, UK, Germany) are involved in the project, studying the dynamic and changing coasts of the Sultanate. While being funded by TRC, the main foreign support comes from RWTH Aachen University, where Prof Dr Klaus Reicherter leads the Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards. He and his team have provided equipment, knowledge exchange, and scientific support for the work in Oman. The team is currently supported by TRC in a new research project entitled “Quaternary sea level changes”.

A great success is the exchange of international scientists and students, including from Oman. Since 2011, dozens of GUtech students visited RWTH Aachen University and more than 16 German students carried out research in Oman. Last summer, Prof. Gösta conducted a two week practical laboratory course on natural hazards for GUtech BSc Applied Geosciences students at RWTH Aachen University. In addition, two BSc students graduated recently by carrying out parts of their research at RWTH Aachen, for three months, co-financed by DAAD.

His international research team of geoscientists is currently supported by TRC in a new research project entitled “Quaternary sea level changes”. “Research has started this year and we expect first results by the end of the year as the field season has just begone” said Prof. Gösta.

GUtech celebrates Omani Women’s Day on campus

Omani Women’s Day was celebrated by the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) at its university campus in Halban recently under the patronage of Her Highness Sayyida Tagreed Turki Al Said. Sayyida Tagreed inaugurated an arts exhibition and a bazaar to mark the occasion. Since the launch of the Omani Women’s Day by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 2011, the event was organised for the first time at the university by the Student Affairs Department of GUtech, along with GUtech’s female students. During her speech, Sayyida Tagreed stressed the importance of women within the Omani society.“Omani women work in different sectors nowadays, and side by side along with men, while also playing a role in their families, as a mother and a sister, and playing a role in public, as a colleague and a student,” she said. The majority of the students studying at GUtech are female and a large number of students participated and attended the evening event. “This is a very special day for us Omani women. With our support, the economy will grow more and more,” said Baraah Al Saady, Foundation Year student at GUtech. The students said they were happy to see such an event being organised by the university, in order to stress the importance of women. “In the past, the situation of women was different and there was less trust in women. His Majesty the Sultan has placed his trust in Omani women and we participate in building Omani society”, said Al Anood Al Gharibi, Foundation Year student at GUtech. Going forwards, Al Gharibi said she would like to become an architect. “Everybody has a dream. To realise our dreams, women need the support of society”, she added. The event included a number of other activities, such as a Fitness Fusion Workshop, including Zumba and facials, a Bangladeshi dance, a fashion show of traditional Omani dresses by Omani designer Zamzam Al Balushi, a taekwondo show and a photography and crafts exhibition. Author Balqees Al Ma’mari also launched her novel in Arabic at the event.

Registration for MSc Petroleum Geoscience still open

Registration for the MSc Petroleum Geosciences is still open, on October 18th a new group of students will start. “Those professionals in the oil and gas sector who are interested in giving their career in the oil industry a boost are welcome to join the programme. Throughout the MSc studies the students conduct a number of field-trips in Oman and abroad and they are taught by academics who are internationally experienced in the oil and gas sector. “The MSc programme focusses on developing the student’s scientific research skills” said Prof. Wiekert. Most of our MSc students are pursuing their studies beside their work duties in different companies in Oman, such as PDO, Oman Oil, CCED, CGG. In addition to class room teaching, the theory and practice of Geosciences in the field and in our ‘Schlumberger workstation laboratory.

GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, one of the leading universities of technology in Europe. The MSc course in Petroleum Geoscience was designed by RWTH Aachen professors of the department of Geosciences. The MSc programme in Petroleum Geoscience at GUtech is recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman and uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to record student’s process.

For further details please contact Professor Dr. Wiekert Visser:

Petroleum Geoscience Students conducted Field-Seminar in Europe

MUSCAT A group of Omani students and their professor of the Department of Petroleum Geoscience at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech)  conducted a one week field-seminar near the largest onshore oil field in Europe, the Wytch farm oilfield, located on the south coast of the UK. “This is the most famous area in the world for teaching petroleum geology in the field. Our main objective was to explore the main processes that lead to the formation of an oil accumulation and to teach the students the so-called ‘play evaluation’,” said Professor Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of the Department of Petroleum Geoscience at GUtech. The field work was lead by Professor Wiekert and has been held on an annual basis, as part of the three-year Master’s programme. The Southern coastline of the UK, especially the regions Devon and Dorset are renowned for their teaching possibilities in oil and gas exploration geology.

Such quality of teaching in petroleum geological is very hard in Oman because of the mountain building has distorted many primary rock quality features which are important for petroleum geology. “In the South of the UK the geological structure is very simple compared to Oman,” said Professor Wiekert. Besides GUtech, many oil companies and universities visit the Dorset coast for petroleum geological training. “During the seminar we worked together in small teams, and learnt how we can use observations on source, reservoir and seal rocks and structure in the field to derive the history of the rocks, which then helps to predict the potential for petroleum exploration” said Haifa Al Salmi, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Petroleum Geoscience. At the end of the week long field excursion, the teams had to present their petroleum exploration concept to a senior explorationist.

Orientation Days held at GUtech

MUSCAT The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), located in Halban, has started its academic year with Orientation Days for students new to GUtech, entering the General Foundation or the Academic Foundation Programme or the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering programmes this week. The induction day is an introduction to the new study environment and held in English and Arabic.

The Rector of the University, Prof. Michael Modigell and Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finances welcomed the new batch of GUtech students in English and Arabic: “I have the pleasure to welcome you at our university and to our GUtech family. Studying at our university, you made a good choice for quality higher education. GUtech is affiliated with one of the leading universities in Europe, RWTH Aachen University. In the coming years GUtech will be a part of your life and very challenging for you. We expect you to work hard and study well for a bright future of yourselves and your country,” said Prof. Michael Modigell. The General Manager of the Foundation Year Programme, Ahmed al Salmi stressed in his speech the overall mentoring support to the students: “We be there and support you throughout your studies.”

The GUtech orientation days continued with presentations of senior students about academic life and student life at GUtech. The students also received more information on the Student Council. GUtech has an active student body with many activities such as a chess club, participation in the cancer walkathon, the International Night, National Day Celebrations and the Muscat Youth Summit, Sports Day. Furthermore, a GUtech Student Council is elected every year which includes student representatives of each study-programme. “We aim at giving a voice to each student” said Mohammed Al Tamami, president of the Student Council and GUtech alumni. The next Student Council elections will be held in October this year. “If you wish to make a change, start with yourself” said Mohammed while encouraging the students to be an active member of the Student Council and the GUtech community.

The language of tuition at GUtech is English. GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, one of the leading Universities of Technology in Europe. For many years employers in Germany have been ranking RWTH Aachen University as the best university in Germany. GUtech offers the General English Programme, a Foundation Programme and Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Computer Science, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, International Business and Service Management as well as Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as a MSc programme in Petroleum Geoscience.

All Bachelor of Science programmes are internationally accredited, the BEng programmes are in the process of being accredited.