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 wealthy state. We have seen various expressions of this wealth in the last two weeks. They come in form of prestigious development projects like the botanical gardens or the university, in form of a rather wasteful usage of water and in form of cheap fuel, I mean when did you last fill you 120 l tank for 45 €? For Omani citizens the governmental welfare is almost limitless. There are no taxes, free healthcare, education, and a piece of land to build on for every married adult. All of this wealth pours from a single source: oil. One can discuss the sustainability of this situation, but that is not where I am going with this.
Driving off-road is a crucial part of this fieldtrip. We get the Land Cruisers for a reason and the people who drive have the chance to try out a number of different terrains, starting with basic dirt roads, ending with loose sand or gravel. For some of the drivers it`s the first time to leave the safe haven of asphalt and also the first time to handle a 2 ton four-wheel-drive. The fact that there have never been any major driving incidents shows that the off-roading is actually easily learned. Still, there are some tracks that are somewhat tricky.
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?