We are back in Germany – green, rainy, well-organised, toilet paper deprived Germany – oh how we missed you, or did we?! I`ll admit it dealing with the thought that we might not be able to get back was pretty unpleasant, but I can`t say that I felt particularly homesick over the last two weeks and I hope neither did the other fieldtrippers. Letting go of the excursion routine, the great outdoors and the people that surrounded you non-stop is easier said than done. So, to make our transition back into our everyday lifes a bit smoother and to say goodbye to our readers, I am writing one last blog.
Oman is a desert. Per definition, a desert is an area with less than 250 mm of annual precipitation, which is true for the entire country, except for the highest mountains. Still, I believe that if you ask a random European what a desert looks like, they will not describe the landscapes that we saw the last couple of days. Neither turquoise water pools and hanging gardens nor beaches come to mind when you think of deserts. Instead, they will describe what we are about to experience next: red dunes stretching out to the horizon, hot sand under our feet, an unforgiving sun in a clear blue sky, a landscape so barren of vegetation that you wonder if anything can survive in it.
What was initially intended as an “advertising measure” to make the Geoverbund better known among students has since developed into a real flagship for the joint geoscientific network of RWTH Aachen University, Bonn University, Cologne University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. There is hardly any other place on Earth where, thanks to the arid climate and the lack of soil coverage, such first class outcrops (this is what the geologist calls places where the rock is visibly exposed) can be observed. Where else can you go for a walk on the so-called “Moho“? A boundary layer that marks the transition from the Earth’s crust to the Earth’s mantle and that usually lies several kilometres deep inside the Earth?