“Huge tsunami hit Oman 1,000 years ago”: concluded by a recent study

A natural event of similar magnitude would have devastating consequences today, warn researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Prof. Dr. habil. Gösta Hoffmann from the University of Bonn (Germany) who has been teaching as a fly-in professor at the Applied Geosciences Department, German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), has published a scientific paper along with his colleagues from the universities of Bonn, Jena, Freiburg and RWTH Aachen in the international scientific journal ‘Marine Geology’.

15-meter high waves that pushed boulders the weight of a Leopard tank inland: This is more or less how one can imagine the tsunami that hit the coast of today’s Sultanate of Oman about 1,000 years ago, as concluded by the recent study. The findings show how urgently the region needs a well-functioning early warning system. But even then, coastal residents would have a maximum of 30 minutes to get to safety in a similar catastrophe. The study will be published in the journal “Marine Geology”, but is already available online http://paleoseismicity.org/quaternary-sea-level-change-along-the-coastline-of-oman/.

Oman lies in the east of the Arabian Peninsula. The coasts of the Sultanate are repeatedly struck by tsunamis, most recently in 2013. Even with the most severe of these in recent times, the Makran event in 1945, the damage remained comparatively low. Back then, the tidal wave reached a height of three meters.

The scientists have now discovered evidence of a tsunami which is likely to have been much more powerful, with waves of up to 15 meters. For this purpose, the researchers from Bonn, Jena and Aachen concentrated their terrain investigations on a 200-kilometer coastal strip in northeastern Oman. “There we identified 41 large boulders, which were apparently carried inland by the force of the water,” explains Prof. Gösta Hoffmann from the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn.

Quartz clock in the rock

Some of the boulders were probably formed when the tsunami shattered parts of the cliffs; for one of them, the largest weighing around 100 metric tons, scientists were even able to determine the exact point at which it broke off. Others show traces of marine organisms such as mussels or oysters that cannot survive on land. “Certain methods can be used to determine their time of death,” says the geologist Gösta Hoffmann. “This allowed us to establish when the boulders were washed ashore.”

The quartz crystals in the rock also represent a kind of clock: They provide information about the last time they were exposed to the sun. This allowed the scientists to deduce how long the rocks had been in the place where they were found. The scientists from Freiburg are specialists in this method. “Many of these measurements gave us a value of about 1,000 years,” emphasizes Prof. Hoffmann. “This corresponds well with the dating results of clay fragments we found in tsunami sediments. They originate from vessels used by coastal dwellers.”

The Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates collide in the Arabian Sea. They move towards each other at a speed of about four centimeters per year. During this process, one plate slides beneath the other. Sometimes they get stuck in this subduction zone. This can cause tensions that intensify more and more over years and decades. If they suddenly come loose with a violent jolt, the water column above the plates starts to move. This can lead to the extremely destructive waves that are characteristic of tsunamis.

“So far it has been unclear to what extent the Arabian and Eurasian plates get stuck,” says Prof. Hoffmann. At the Makran event of 1945, for example, the effects were locally confined. The current findings, however, suggest that the tensions can also build up and unload on a very large scale – there is no other feasible explanation for the enormous forces at work at the time. “It is therefore extremely important that a tsunami early warning system is put in place for this region,” stresses the geologist.

Nevertheless, even a smaller tsunami would have devastating consequences today: A large part of the vital infrastructure in the Sultanate of Oman has been built near the coast, such as the oil refineries and seawater desalination plants. A well-functioning warning system can, however, at least give residents some time to get to safety. Not very much though: Tsunamis move at the speed of a passenger aircraft; in the best case, the time between the alarm and the wave’s impact would therefore be little more than 30 minutes.

Publication: Gösta Hoffmann, Christoph Grützner, Bastian Schneider, Frank Preusser and Klaus Reicherter: Large Holocene tsunamis in the northern Arabian Sea. Marine Geology, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.106068

For more details please contact:

Dr. habil. Gösta Hoffmann,

Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn
Tel. +49 (0228) 73-4711
E-mail: ghoffman@uni-bonn.de

Turning plastic waste into fuel – An Engineering research project in cooperation with Oman Oil and Orpic Group

Promoting sustainable waste management and energy production

To reduce plastic waste, a joint research project between the Engineering Department of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and the Oman Oil and Orpic Group will study the feasibility of converting plastic waste into fuel. Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department at GUtech and head of the research project, presented the research during a talk entitled ‘Pyrolysis of Plastic Waste to Fuel’ during the International Exhibition K2019 held in Dusseldorf (Germany) last month. With more than 230,000 visitors, the exhibition was one of the most leading events in the plastics and rubber industry worldwide.

The research project between GUtech and Oman Oil and Orpic Group is an initiative for the growth of the circular economy in the Sultanate of Oman. “Plastic waste contributes to 20% of the approximately 2 million tons of municipal solid waste every day. Oman is one of the main oil producers. Petrochemical and plastic manufacturing is the main goal of many oil-producing countries. Finding a circular solution and recycling plastic waste will make Oman setting an example in waste management, a key factor in mitigating negative effects of landfilling and increased harmful emissions from incineration,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. According to research, the average per capita waste generation in Oman is more than 1.2 kg per day. The research project is scheduled to start this year and will include a group of researchers and Engineering students from GUtech.

“In August this year a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between our university and Oman Oil and Orpic Group to enhance our bilateral cooperation including research and development of new ideas,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. By next year Oman Oil and Orpic will increase the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) to 1.4 million tons. “Our aim is to develop an innovative process to convert plastic waste into fuel, thus providing a technical solution to one of the most persisting environmental problems in Oman and as well worldwide. The new process will offer a sustainable solution for recycling millions of tons of plastic waste, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and other chemical pollutants and creating a potential for commercialisation,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. Today’s recycling infrastructure and technologies in Oman cannot yet address the challenges of processing diverse types of plastic waste. For example, mechanical recycling requires plastic waste to be sorted and reduced in size before it can be used in the production of lower value products such as carpet fibres, bags, clothes and else.

(c) GUtech, text and photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Dr. Najah Al Mhanna

 

 

Shams Global Solutions and BP Oman inaugurate Shams Facility for Solar Training at the German University of Technology in Oman

Shams Global Solutions (SGS) in association with BP Oman’s Social Investment Programme, inaugurated a state of the art solar training facility located on the campus of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), yesterday. The event was held as part of Oman’s 49th National Day celebrations.  Qais Bin Saud Al Zakwani, Executive Director of the Authority for Electricity Regulation was the Guest of Honour for the inauguration and was accompanied by Eng. Yousuf Al Ojaili, BP Oman President. Many other senior officials from the public and private sector were also present on the occasion.

“We aim to harness innovation and research skills through delivery of practical and experiential initiatives,” said Shamsa Al Rawahi, BP Oman’s Social Investment Manager. “Oman’s solar sector has the potential for growth and it is necessary to enable people and equip them with the right skill set to complement it. SGS’s new facility is well integrated to do so,” she added.

Located on the campus of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the facility is the outcome of a unique cooperation between SGS, BP Oman, and GUtech. “We are very glad to see the facility running and being utilised for its purpose” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. The facility includes four different solar systems totaling 18 kWp (kilowattpeak) of solar power and four training zones, one of which is a dedicated interface protection zone. The facility has three different installation types (flat-roof, pitched-roof and ground-mounted systems), designed to the exact specification of the Authority for Electricity Regulation’s (AER) grid-connected solar regulations released in 2017. The facility is designed to simulate real-world building and installation sites. SGS’s trainings are provided in partnership with Solar Energy International (USA) who have been delivering firsthand training for over 25-years.

“The inauguration of this facility is an indication of our commitment to advance the growth of renewable energy in the Sultanate. We want to contribute to energy diversification and increase production from cleaner sources,” said Dr Michael Tsang, Co-Founder of SGS. “We are aiming to strengthen this ambition to keep the renewables sector growing in Oman and tap into other resources of energy,” he added.

SGS collaborated with Solar Energy International to launch a solar photovoltaic training programme that is certified and approved by Oman’s DCRP (Distribution Code Review Panel) last year. The course has enabled hundreds of the country’s next generation of solar professionals to be an integral part of Oman’s renewable energy sector.

Shams Global Solutions is a private company focused on creating and delivering educational and training services for sustainability in the Middle East. Based out of Muscat, Oman, their mission is to develop local capacity and strengthen the renewable energy as well as sustainability of the marketplace both locally and regionally. Working towards this goal, they provide technical training and services related to solar power, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

GUtech students conducted their internships at Seifert Logistics in Germany and Poland

As part of the BSc Logistics programme, two students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) have conducted a two-month internship at Seifert Logistics Group, in their offices in Germany and in Poland. Mubarak Al-Nasseri and Manaf Al Raisi are both studying Logistics in the 7th semester at GUtech. The main purpose of the internship was to learn more and understand more about how a logistics company works in Germany and in other European countries.

“During our internship, we were able to work in three different branches of Seifert Logistics Group. In the head offices in the German city of Ulm, in their branch in Jawor in Poland, and in Malsch, located in the South of Germany. I personally feel that I have received a lot of information about how logistics works. For instance, how to build-up a warehouse from scratch while considering different aspect such as the costs, design and functionality involved. During our internship we were both involved in 3D modelling warehouses, creating barcodes and in barcode scanning procedures or in creating a 2D floor-plan,” said Manaf Al Raisi. Their European colleagues at Seifert Logistics were very helpful and friendly. They introduced them to life in Germany. “I believe that my German language skills have improved because I had to practise the language. I have made many friends and I have met a lot of people from different backgrounds that helped to settle in Germany. Our colleagues also showed us around the southern part of the country. Overall, we were both enjoying the time in Europe and we are very grateful for such a special internship opportunity,” said Manaf Al Raisi.

Caption: At the head office of Seifert Logistics: Manaf Mohammed Al Raisi (second from left) and Mubarak Nasseri from GUtech along with Dario Dante Oncak (right) and Lukas Niewiara from Seifert Logistics (left)

 

 

49th National Day Celebrations at GUtech

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) would like to join the Omani people in congratulating His Majesty Sultan Qaboos on the occasion of the 49th National Day. The Federal Republic of Germany and the Sultanate of Oman have been enjoying a long, stable friendship in various fields including in higher education. GUtech opened in 2007. H.M. Sultan Qaboos has honoured the university with a special visit on campus on the 24th of December 2012.

Celebrations for the 49the National Day began in the large amphitheatre of GUtech today morning. The Rectorate of the university, students, administrative and academic staff as well as school children from the Finland Oman School gathered to sing the National Anthem. Celebrations will continue today and on Wednesday afternoon including various activities organized by GUtech Student Clubs, such as the GUtech Theater Club, the Art Club, the English Club, the International Students Club and the Media Club.

(C) GUtech/Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & GUtech Media Centre

 

Learning German is Fun!

HALBAN The German Language Unit of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has conducted a special ‘Thanksgiving-Fun-Activity’ in their new ‘German Activity Room’ launched this semester. Thanksgiving is a special event celebrated in the Western world at the end of the harvest season in autumn. To apply new German words and to improve their active vocabulary, students were competing with each other in German word-games. For example, different fruits like cherries, grapes, mangos or watermelon were applied during the game. While preparing a dish together with their lecturer, the students were actively learning about the fruits. “These events will be held monthly at our newly established German activity room,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt.

“I like to learn German. German is one of my favourite subjects and we like our German teachers. Whenever I have time, I open the German textbook and I read German,” said Shamim Al Ismaili, 3rd year student in Process Engineering at GUtech, while adding that she would like to apply for an internship in Germany next year. “The German Language Unit has planned different events in order to motivate the students to learn and practice the German language, to learn more about the German culture and to socialize outside the classroom with each other while applying the German language,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt, German lecturer and coordinator of the German Language Unit. The organizers of this first event were Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt as well as German lecturers Ms. Aliaksandra Bialko, Ms. Rim Abdulla, Anoud Al Badri and Mrs. Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD and German lecturer at GUtech.

“At the end of the third semester the students are can opt for passing the A1 exam of the Goethe Institute, which certifies them the first, basic language level. We are very happy that DAAD is supporting our German Unit with a Teaching Assistant this year,” said Mrs. Claudia Schmidt. The DAAD has been supporting the German Unit since the establishment of GUtech in 2007. To learn the basics of the language, GUtech students study German for three semesters.

Engineering students visited Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant

As part of the first interdisciplinary Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” held at GUtech recently, GUtech students from different programmes and their professors have visited the Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant. The plant is owned by ACWA Power Barka while being operated and maintained by NOMAC Oman. The power and desalination plant provides the Al Batinah regions and Muscat with power and water, generated through the power, desalination and seawater osmosis plants. “During the site visit the group saw the main plant consisting of two gas turbines with a capacity of 117 MW each, one steam turbine with a capacity of 222 MW and three desalination plants, Multi Stage Flushing, with a capacity of 20 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD). The students were also able to visit the Seawater Reverse Expansion-1, having a capacity of 10 MIGD and the Seawater Reverse Expansion-2 with a capacity of 12.5 MIGD. These seawater plants serve the community with drinking water while supplying water to the Public Authority of Water. We comply with ISO 14001 standards and with environmental rules and regulation,” said Talal Al Mabsali, Power and Desalination Team Leader at NOMAC Oman while adding: “At Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant, we consider the natural and social environment as our main concern. NOMAC Oman has recently initiated various Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives (CSR) in cooperation with the government and the private sector, such as a paper recycling awareness initiative. Recently we also participated in a greenhouse gas initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA),” said Talal Al Mabsali.

The two-week interdisciplinary Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” was conducted in cooperation with professors from Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus – Senftenberg/ Germany. The workshops were related to all Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science programmes offered at GUtech. The Summer School was held for the first time and focused on Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Climate Change Response Strategies, Emerging Issues on Environmental Law and Environmental Assessment with a particular focus on sustainable land use and water management, combining different teaching techniques such as lectures, case studies and group work.

 

 

 

 

GUtech participates in the Oman Science Festival held in Muscat

GUtech’s Engineering and Computer Science Student Clubs are participating in the Oman Science Festival held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat this week. The exhibition is organised by the Ministry of Education and it is open to the general public until the end of the week. The Science Festival offers a platform for school students to participate in scientific experiments and hands-on workshops. Around 40 students from GUtech’s Hardware Club and the Applied Geosciences Club are conducting experiments and practical programming activities during the Science Festival. “At our stand, the Hardware Club showcases an automatic light system, building a robot from Lego EV3 and presenting the World of Electronics, some simple electrical experiments for school children,” said Ali Al Humairi, Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering Faculty and Supervisor of the Hardware Club at GUtech.

As part of the Festival, stalls display various inventions and innovations. At the Shell booth, the GUtech Eco-marathon hydrogen car is on display. The GUtech team ‘Megalodon’ participated in the annual Shell-Eco-marathon Asia competition ‘Make the Future’ held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia in May this year. In the past four years GUtech teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, a competition held for student teams in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

“Our team Megalodon made its debut as the first student team from the Arabian Peninsula participating in the Shell-Eco-Marathon Asia Prototype Category with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell three-wheel vehicle,” said Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis from the Mechanical Engineering Department at GUtech and Supervisor of the Megalodon team. Over 100 teams from Asia and the Middle East demonstrated their self-built, energy-efficient, eco-friendly cars during the competition. The challenge is to use the least amount of energy for a long distance.

(c) Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

 

”SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative” launched at GUtech

In cooperation with SAP, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), has recently launched the SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative which aims to create a unified language for their products and services, while considering cultural and technical aspects. Technical terms are understood differently from one culture to another. SAP wishes to harmonize these technical terms from the “source language” to the “target language”. Since languages are like living things, they can develop as societies grow, SAP has come up with an initiative to revise and enhance the technical terminologies in Arabic in collaboration with a number of selected distinguished universities in the Arab world. Through this unique initiative, student teams in their final years of university are to conduct a terminology revision together with SAP experts and professional translators. Revised terminologies are then to be made available to Arabic-speaking researchers, students, translators and editors through our open source and free-of-charge portal: SAPTERM.com. GUtech students from Computer Sciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences, Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering, Environmental Engineering will contribute with their expertise to the localization of Arabic in software applications in Oman.

“In our project at GUtech, the aim is to find Arabic terms, that are widely understood and “to hit the nail”, to reflect the exact and concise meaning of what is meant in the source language. For our students involved in such a project, it opens a wide range of opportunities to understand and apply ‘tech-lingo’ in their future work environment,” said Heiderose Moossen from TSSC at GUtech. Heiderose Moossen is the supervisor of the SAP project, having initiated the cooperation with SAP two years ago. Throughout the last decade, it was noticeable that a considerable number of Arabic users were ignoring the Arabic versions of the software products offered by various companies including SAP. They preferred to use the products in other languages such as English.

“GUtech is one of the leading Universities of Technology in the region and is well known for its social responsibility and support of the Arabic language, we are honoured to be invited as the first university in Oman for partaking in this initiative. Together, we can enrich the Arabic electronic content on the Internet by unifying the technical terminology in Arabic, which in turn will benefit the Arabic end-users and help Arabic speakers to make the best use of modern technology without the need to rely on other languages,” she said. “Students will work in teams and will receive given sets of terms, where they undertake the required research and finalize their revision, followed by supervisory calls and discussions on the results in upcoming meetings with Mr Abdullah El Sahhar, SAP Project Manager in Dubai. All needed materials will be provided by SAP. The project duration is 15 weeks. We request students to invest 3 hours work per week into the project,” said Heiderose Moossen while adding that “The localization of products is a process that developed through globalization. It is a rather unknown concept, as many suppliers believe, they can simply transfer their products unadapted to a new market, without understanding the local culture, handling, or even care to know whether people need their products or not,” said Moossen.  Therefore, the localisation supports the adaptation of international products while respecting local identities. The way products are used and marketed in Europe may not apply to the Middle East and vice versa. The same applies for the use of a certain terminology. Heiderose Moossen said: “This SAP project facilitates a deep understanding of terminologies, efficient team-work and cooperation as well as marketing and applying new technologies. It represents a strong commitment to the global community. Students will contribute with their work and knowledge to the community needs. The final results of the SAP Terminology Revising project will be disseminated free-of-charge and online via SAP, so that everyone can look up certain terms. “We at GUtech value this project as a community service. It is allocated under the GUtech ICE, Industry & Community Engagement Committee. SAP is investing in 2 million terms for each foreign language, and each term in its determination process costs 10 Euro, i.e. 20 Mio Euro. One can imagine, how important it is, when people from different cultural and language backgrounds, use a specific terminology so that experts understand each other immediately without further discussions on the meaning,” said Heiderose Moossen.

At the end of the three months “SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative” project, participating students will receive a “Certificate of Participation & Appreciation”. Students will also be able to register for other upcoming SAP training, such as YPP, held in Oman. GUtech alumni can also register and submit their CVs to the SAP clients’ pool. GUtech is cooperating with SAP since 2017. The university is running the S/4 HANA in its NextGen Laboratory. SAP is the largest global software producer, operating in over 180 countries, with more than 350,000 customers. A selected group of 25 students studied in Feb 2019 SAP Business Integration touching the fundaments of the state-of-the-art SAP system S/4 Hana used by many companies worldwide including in Oman.

(c) GUtech