Analyzing the fault zone of Taww, Oman


My name is Cece Hurtado and I am a junior Geology major working with Professor Chuck Bailey over the summer. This past winter break I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Oman, a relatively little-known country in the Arabian Gulf, as part of a cross-disciplinary study abroad experience. I had lived there during my middle school and early high school years and consider it a home in many ways, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I was approached with the idea of doing my senior thesis on the geology of Oman.

Oman is unique in that it displays remnants of an incredibly rare geologic event: obduction. This occurs when the oceanic plate is pushed and emplaced onto the continental plate. This is an uncommon occurrence because oceanic crust is denser than continental, therefore due to gravity it is often the one subducted and pushed beneath the less-dense continental crust. Because of this rare event, the northern regions of Oman have the most well-preserved and exposed outcrops of ophiolite. Ophiolite is a sequence of rocks that compose what used to be the bottom of the oceanic crust and the upper portion of the Earth’s mantle. My research is focused on a (geologically-speaking) noteworthy region in northern Oman near a small village called Taww. This region is interesting in that it shows the ophiolite, the metamorphic sole underneath the ophiolite, and the Triassic dolomites that the ophiolite was thrust upon all within a 2 squared km area. Specifically, I will be focusing on the fault network and metamorphic sole to identify the kinematics of this fault zone.