The Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) concluded

HALBAN The 3rd International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Harvesting in the Arab Region,” concluded end of last week at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban. Sessions on hydraulic simulation, water harvesting and sediment management as well as monitoring, meterology, climate change, risk assessment, risk management and hazard mitigation were held.

According to the international experts in the multi-disciplinary field of flash flood management, most Arab countries have been suffering from a rise in flash floods, especially within the past ten years. Dr. Ayisha Al Khatri from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR) gave a presentation on the Hydrometic network and its role in flash floods monitoring in the Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Ayisha said that the first rain gauge was installed in Muscat in 1893 already. The first flood risk studies was initiated in 1987 already. In 1992 the ministry published the first flood risk maps, indicating areas that are located in flood areas. The hydrometic network monitors flash floods and therefore helps to project and prevent future floods in the country.

A team of researchers from Kyoto University (Japan) Dr. Tetsuya Sumi, Dr. Sameh Kantoush and Dr. Mohamed Saber, raised in their research presentation the question regarding the understanding the dramatic changes of flash floods in terms of their frequency and intensity due to climate change and how to mitigate and manage the flood water and to reduce the risk of disasters? For their research they applied water harvesting and hydrological modelling within a case study conducted in Egypt.

Towards the end of the sessions, the participants of the symposium discussed a joint 5year Road Map towards establishing an international framework of guidelines for the management of flash floods in wadi systems. Short-term measures such as training, construction guidelines and a wadi flash flood textbook were discussed. The framework will also include international research projects, international guidelines regarding the management of wadis, continuous monitoring of the wadi systems, modelling of the wadi flows as well as continuous public awareness through education and health services.

More than one hundred local and international experts from Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Germany besides other countries, attended the three-day symposium, that included an excursion to the Fulaij Flood Protection Dam in Sur on Thursday as well as a pre-conference training workshop on “Flow and Sediment Transport Modelling in Rivers and Wadi System using TELEMAC 2D and 3D numerical codes”.

The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech organized the symposium in cooperation with the Water Resource Research Center in Kyoto (WRRC), the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GDRAI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR). Moreover, the symposium is sponsored by Hölscher Wasserbau GmbH, COMSOL Inc., Al Bustan Construction as well as Gulf Lake. The organizers also wish to acknowledge all support received from the Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

Since 2015 the Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems was held in Kyoto (Japan) and in Campus El Gouna (Egypt). The next symposium will be held in Casablanca/ Morocco next year. For further details and registration please check out the conference website isff2017.gutech.edu.om

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Caption: Opening ceremony of the International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems held at GUtech

© Text : GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Ahmed Hadidi

The Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) opened at GUtech

HALBAN Under the auspices of H.E. Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Shehi, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Thomas Schneider as well as the Ambassador of Japan to the Sultanate of Oman, H.E. Mitsugu Saito, the 3rd International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Harvesting in the Arab Region” was opened on the 5th of December at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban. “To understand the nature of flash floods including the forecasting of wadi flows, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed. This unique and important symposium gathers geoscientists, hydrologists, physicists, urban planners and architects. I am confident that the conference will contribute to establishing an improved flood management,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech in his welcome speech. More than one hundred local and international experts, including Japan, Canada, Morocco, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Germany are attending the three-day symposium, that includes an excursion to the Fulaij Flood Protection Dam in Sur as well as a pre-conference training workshop on “Flow and Sediment Transport Modelling in Rivers and Wadi System using TELEMAC 2D and 3D numerical codes”.

According to the researchers, the occurrence of flash floods worldwide and in particular in Arabia has increased in recent years. “Flash floods are caused by extreme weather conditions. Their occurrence is highly random and the associated problems are expected to increase in the near future due to climate change. Therefore there is an urgent need for flash flood protection and risk reduction. In addition, rain water can be considered as a valuable resource for water harvesting and used for example for agricultural purposes.” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Hydrologist at GUtech. Prof. Ekkehard, who has been conducting a joint research project on water harvesting with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. “To improve flood management, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in Oman has prepared comprehensive studies on flash-flood prone cities and detailed maps of those hazards to illustrate high and medium risk areas in the Sultanate of Oman” said Rashid bin Yahya Al Abri, Director General for Water Resource Assessment at MRMWR. A total of 156 dams exist in Oman; 107 are storage dams (e.g. Wadi Dayqah dam), 46 are recharge dams (e.g. in Al Khoud) and three are protection dams (e.g. in Salalah).

“Population growth, urbanisation, poor infrastructure, the absence of response plans and socio-cultural factors have increased the exposure and vulnerability of arid areas on the Arabian Peninsula,” said Saeed Alharbi of the University College Dublin (Ireland) during his talk on the assessment of exposure to flash floods in an arid environment, based on a neighbourhood in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia.

The participants of the annual symposium have been working on a 5year Road Map towards establishing a framework of international guidelines for the management of flash floods in wadi systems. This framework includes international research projects, international management guidelines, continuous monitoring of the wadi systems, modelling of the wadi flows, as well as continuous public awareness through education and health services.

The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech with Prof. Ekkehard is a member of organizing committee of this symposium, that is organized in cooperation with the Water Resource Research Center in Kyoto (WRRC), the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GDRAI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR). Moreover, the symposium is sponsored by Hölscher Wasserbau GmbH, COMSOL Inc., Al Bustan Construction as well as Gulf Lake. The organizers also wish to acknowledge all support received from the Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

Since 2015 the Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems was held in Kyoto (Japan) and in Campus El Gouna (Egypt). For further details and registration please check out the conference website http://isff2017.gutech.edu.om/

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Caption: Opening ceremony of the International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems held at GUtech

 

© Text : GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Ahmed Haddidi; Photo: GUtech/ Media Center

The 1st Science Symposium at GUtech – The Role of Isotopes in our Environment

HALBAN To discuss certain topics related to natural sciences, the 1st Science Symposium was inaugurated last week at GUtech. “The idea to this special symposium came up during the preparations for the upcoming 10th anniversary at GUtech,” said Prof. Dr. Bernhard Heim, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Sciences. “During a number of talks we would like to showcase and promote our research projects to the general public,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Modigell Rector of GUtech during his inaugural speech. The coming days will consist of public presentations about “Wavelets and the Abel Prize”, as well as Mathematical Publishing and the “History of Chemistry”.

The first talk of the Symposium was given by Dr. Gerhard Strauch, guest researcher at the HelmholtzCenter in Germany and fly-in professor in Hydrochemistry at GUtech’s Department for Applied Geosciences. Dr Gerhard is the editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed international journal “Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies”. Dr Gerhard has been supervising several BSc and PhD thesis projects in Oman, all related to isotope hydrogeology investigations in Oman, in the Dhofari mountains. There fossil water, modern water and monsoon water could be detected.

According to Dr. Gerhard the research field of isotopes is a young scientific field. “Water has chemistry, it has smell, and the water molecule consists of different isotopes. Isotopes from light elements as hydrogen and oxygen are valuable tools for the understanding of processes in the nature and the influences of human beings on our environment,” said Prof. Gerhard during his presentation that focused on water isotopes and its use for source assessment, recharge processes but also in the drinking water industry. The Earth crust and surface and the atmosphere are characterized by larger variations of isotopes due to isotope fractionation processes. Especially in hot climate zones heavy isotopes of water are more concentrated in rain and air because of thermodynamic and kinetic causes compared to more humid or colder climate zones. This effect can be used to increase the understanding of groundwater resources and particularly their exploration in Dhofar region. Fossil water as detected by isotope investigations is a non-renewable resource, very precious. Dr Gerhard mentioned that the investigations on groundwater resources in Dhofar by use of isotopes are currently ongoing under the project funding by the The Research Council (TRC) and the Helmholtz Association in Germany. This project was implemented to encourage young Omani scientists to collaborate together and to strengthen the water management management in Dhofar and Oman.

According to Prof. Gerhard researchers have found a decrease in isotopes in certain climate zones such as the Antarctic. Moreover, the audience experienced that the application of isotopes is a valuable and increasing tool in quality assurance of processed food and promotes as well human health and health research. .

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Caption: Dr. Gerhard Strauch, guest scientist at the German Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, during his presentation held at GUtech.

 

(c) Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Gerhard Strauch

 

Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems to be held at GUtech, 5 – 7 December

HALBAN Flash floods which are caused by extreme weather conditions have created severe damages to the infrastructure and agriculture in recent years in many parts of the world including the Sultanate of Oman. The Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Harvesting in the Arab Region” will be held between the 5-7 December at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban.

“Our international symposium aims at creating awareness about flash floods and increase research in efficient flash flood forecasting through hydrological models that predict rainfall and runoff processes and simulate the flood routing,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Hydrologist at GUtech, who is heading the local organizing committee of the symposium. The Symposium is held in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in the Sultanate of Oman, Water Resource Research Center in Kyoto (Japan), the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GDRAI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University.

According to the researchers, their occurrence is highly random. “Because of climate change, flash floods will occur more frequently in future. Therefore, there is an urgent need for further flash flood protection and risk reduction. In addition, the rain water can be harvested and used for example for agricultural purposes. This has been done in other parts of the world, e.g. in Africa,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher.

In previous years the Symposium was held in Kyoto (Japan) and in Campus El Gouna (Egypt). Around one hundred experts from all over the world are expected to attend the symposium, that will also include a Training Workshop on “Flow and Sediment Transport Modelling in Rivers and Wadi System using TELEMAC 2D and 3D numerical codes”.

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR), COMSOL, Hölscher Wasserbau GmbH, Al Bustan Construction and Gulf Lake are the silver sponsors of the symposium. For further details and registration please check out the conference website: http://issf2017.gutech.edu.om/ or contact ISFF2017@gutech.edu.om.

© Text: GUtech / Manuela Gutberlet and Dr. Ahmed Hadidi
© Photo: GUtech/ Applied Geosciences Department

Caption:

members of the organizing team, from left to right:

Prof. Dr. Tetsuya Sumi, WRRC, Desaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan

Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, GUtech, Oman

Prof. Dr Sameh Kantoush, WRRC, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Japan

Dr. Saif Al-Hinai, Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, Oman

 

Applied Geosciences students and professors participate in the International Oman Drilling Project

HALBAN Worldwide Oman is renowned for its ophiolite rocks. To study their composition, age and possible impacts on climate change, a large group of international geoscientists from various universities around the globe have been conducting the Oman Drilling Project. GUtech is on-site partner during the three year project. “The Oman Drilling Project will sample the whole ophiolite sequence in Oman, from the crust through to upper mantle, in a series of boreholes. Data collection includes analysis of rock core, geophysical logging, fluid sampling, hydrological measurements and microbiological sampling,” said Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.

“We will develop research related with the aims and using the core samples or other data such as water and geophysical data of the project. Four female GUtech geosciences students have been involved on site recently,” said Prof. Ana Jesus a Petrologist from GUtech. Prof. Ana and Prof. Dr Ekkehard Holzbecher, Hydrologist of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech are members of the scientific team and the main persons for liaison for student involvement. GUtech students were involved in the processes that are necessary for the curation of the rocks. “It was a great opportunity for them to learn these procedures within an international team”, said Dr. Ana. The four GUtech students, Maisa Al Busaidi, Nidhal Al Jahwari, Maria Al Balushi and Zahra Al Lawati worked on a drill hole in Wadi Gideah close to Ibra. “They accompanied the core flow, which are all the steps since the core comes from underground until it is finally packed for shipping involving, washing, measuring, photographing, curating, labelling, sketch and logging having participated directly on  most of those operations as well,” said Prof. Ana. The project leader of the Oman Drilling Project, a renowned geoscientist Prof. Dr. Peter Kelemen, Head of the Earth and Environmental Science Programme at Columbia University took the GUtech students to a field-trip. He showed them the so-called core flow on site and the local geology while discussing scientific questions.

In addition, scientists from other universities in the region and worldwide participate in the project, that was launched this year and is scheduled to take another two years. To finalize the full geological and geophysical characterisation of the drill cores that were obtained this winter in Oman, Prof. Ana will travel to Japan and work on board the Chikyu ship with an international scientific team end of this year. More than 40 natural scientists from different continents and a broad spectrum of disciplines will use these new datasets to address a diverse range of scientific questions relating to the formation, hydrothermal alteration and biotic and abiotic weathering of oceanic lithosphere.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech

Geosciences students visit the old lead-zinc mine of Mechernich in Germany

MUSCAT To explore the geology of Germany, a group of Omani geoscience students and their professor from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) have conducted a geological study-excursion to Germany. During the two weeks trip the fifteen 3rd year students visited the Eifel region, located in the Western part of Germany, close to the city of Cologne. In addition, the students visited different cities like Cologne, Bochum, Xanten, and Aachen.

“The goal was to familiarize the students with different aspects of applied geology such as the development of natural resources or the usage of ground- and sub-surface water as well as natural stones in the lower Rhine district. With a focus on the presentation of thermal springs, coal and base metal deposits as well as volcanic rocks, we gave the students an overview of topics that cannot be presented in Oman, due to its geoglogical composition,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech who organized and headed the excursion.

The Eifel region is famous for its magnificient geology and many historical mines that were closed around 50 years ago.  Therefore the group from the GUtech had the chance to visit the old lead-zinc mine of Mechernich in the Eifel region. “Despite the fact that the deposit with 125 million tons ore is the largest lead resource in central Europe, mining stopped in 1957 due to very low commodity prices. Other aspects of applied geoscience like the coal mining in the Ruhr area, cold natural springs of Spa in Belgium and the hot springs of Aachen are further highlights of this trip,” said Prof. Wilfried Bauer. Furthermore, the students had the opportunity to attend various lectures at the Department of Geosciences at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner-university in Germany. A number of GUtech alumnis are currently studying in MSc programmes at RWTH Aachen University.

Group photo: GUtech 3rd year Applied Geosciences students and Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer (right) as well as mine guide Mr Willy Krämer (left)

(c) Text: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: GUtech/Department of Applied Geosciences

School students experience university life

To connect with the local resident community in Oman and to give some insight into a university, a group of five high school students from the American British Academy (ABA) have conducted their work experience days at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). The students who are currently in grade 10 were introduced to the Department of Applied Geosciences and the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design at GUtech. Some of students attended a laboratory class where they learnt how to identify rock samples according to the shape and color. Others attended student presentations on urban development and a lecture on urban history. Most of the students said that they have not yet decided about their future studies.

“I like to experience as many fields as possible,” said Illuyemi Chukwuma who is considering studying Astrophysics in future. All of the students greatly enjoyed being able to spend some time listening to lectures at undergraduate level. The students of Architectural Design were given their own project of a ‘dream house’ to work on.  They shared their new understanding of the huge range of factors to consider when designing new homes with their ABA peers on their return to school. Each of the students said they would enthusiastically recommend a placement at GUtech to other ABA students and were very grateful to have been given this opportunity. “My week in the UPAD department has been highly informative and very enjoyable. This experience has definitely influenced my decisions towards studying architecture positively,” said Zacharyah Sueyoshi. His class-mate Emma-Leigh Joubert agreed: “I had an amazing time and my visit confirmed what I want to do when I leave school.” Emma also wishes to study architecture in future.

Prestigious International Carbonate Course held at GUtech

HALBAN Carbonate rocks are widely distributed on Earth and are a fantastic window into Earth history and climate evolution. “They host huge reserves on oil, gas, and water, and were formed by organisms living millions of years ago. Therefore, they represent excellent archives for reconstructing the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere. Moreover even today’s climate is influenced by carbonate deposition, as carbonate formation has a high impact on the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere,” said Prof. Dr. Axel Munnecke, Geoscientist at the University of Erlangen, Germany. Research on carbonate rocks therefore attracts geologist from both industry and universities worldwide. “Our vision is to connect theory and practise. Therefore, GUtech is honoured to host the prestigious course which is usually held in Germany,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

Prof. Munnecke is currently conducting the famous International Carbonate Course together with Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker (GUtech) and Prof. Dr. Frank Mattern (SQU) at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. The course usually takes place at the University of Erlangen. During the one-week course inside the GUtech geosciences laboratory the students study the one of a kind carbonate thin section collection in order to understand the production and sedimentation of carbonate rocks, as well as their later alteration. For this purpose, the so-called “thin sections” are investigated using microscopes. Thin sections are polished carbonate rock samples that have been glued to a glass plate and ground down to a thickness of about 30 µm so that they become translucent and can be investigated in detail with a microscope. The students have the unique possibility to study together with the renowned experts thin sections from modern environments to rocks almost half a billion years old, from shallow- to deep-water environments, and from polar regions to the equator. The aim of the course is to train the students in describing, classifying, and interpreting these samples. Moreover, one day before the indoor sessions started the scientist went on a field workshop to the Saiq Plateau in Jebel Al Akhdar. At this place the researchers studied the famous Permian coral reefs, which are about 260 Million years old, and represent an important window into Earth’s history.

Up to today, this unique course has been conducted in various countries worldwide such as Nigeria, Egypt, Greece, China and Austria. So far already more than 2000 students and professionals in the fields of geosciences, petroleum geosciences, and hydrogeology have attended this course.

 

Geological field-workshop on Jabel Akdhdar

Together with colleagues from Oman and Germany, the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech conducted a field workshop on Jabal Akhdar’s Saiq Plateau last weekend. The group of geoscientists were from FAU Germany, FU Berlin, GUtech, SQU and PDO. Several German geoscientists are currently conducting seminars and lectures at GUtech.

Pictured are (from left to right) Prof Axel Munnecke, Dr. Frank Mattern, Prof. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Prof. Michaela Bernecker, Lukas Reuss, Dr. Husam Al Rawahi and (in front) Katharina Scharf, Dr. Ivan Callegari, Prof. Anette Regelous and Ali Al Hajri.

Students participated in the prestigious Geosciences “Flügel Course”

BARKA Six students of the Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech participated in the International Course on Carbonate Microfacies 2017 at the Geocenter of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) recently. Four students who are all in their final year in Applied Geosciences: Amal Al Shahaibi, Amani Qasim, Ibtisam Al Kharusi and Wafa Al Ismaili received scholarships comprising the course fees and accommodation on campus. The criteria for the award of the scholarships included the students performance and their motivation in course-relevant subjects. The annual “Flügel Course” is held under the umbrella of the German Geological Society (DGGV). The course strongly supports students interested in working in the field of Carbonate Reservoir Geology and in the Limestone Industry.

The Carbonate Course at the Geocenter covers all classic and modern aspects of carbonate sedimentology. Lectures by professors from several German Universities are held in English. These lectures cover different topics of carbonate microfacies in addition to exercises with so-called thin sections and sediment samples. The main focus of the course is on recent developments in carbonate sedimentology.

The Geocenter of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg owns a world renowned, one-of-a-kind collection of carbonate thin-sections and sediment samples. The famous annual “Flügel Course” is named after its initiator, the late Prof. Dr. Erik Flügel, a renown palaeontologist who launched the course in 1976. Until today, 1500 geoscientists from the academia and the industry attended the course. Next month the first “Flügel Course” will be held at GUtech. The one-week course will be open to Applied Geosciences students studying at the university.