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Jebel Rawdah Rock

Anyone visiting jebel Rawdah can hardly fail to notice the unusual rock specimens scattered around. I decided to do a bit of rooting around for information on the local geology and this is what I found.

Yes it is a rock..honest!!!If you examine the rocks in the Jebel Rawdah area, you'll find mainly weathered limestones and an abundance of marine fossils. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but what is unusual is the dark maroon rock that sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the pale sandy colours of the limestones. On a recent trip some people thought that this rock might be from a metoerite, and it certainly does appear quite alien when compared to its surroundings.

Imagine a chunk of molten dark red coloured plastic that has cooled, and you'll have some idea of the appearance. These rocks are officially known as Semail Opheolite and originate from material forced up from deep within the earth's crust as a result of plate collision around 70 million year ago.

This rock formed islands in a shallow warm sea, the limestone was formed around the islands and the marine fossils were deposited within this. The Ophiolite outcrop makes the geology of Jebel Rawdah quite striking. Fossil remains in limestone

Also of interest is the reddish rock band that you can see in the 'one-tree gully' area, and if you look up from the wadi campsite you can trace one of the rock layers which appears to have more plants growing along it than the others. Follow the rock band along the hillside and count just how many plants (caper plants mainly) are growing along it. Is this due to the nature of the soil along this band or is it due to there being more water available due to the band's impermiability?


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Updated Jan 2010

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