Greater Mesopotamia

Greater Mesopotamia

Geological Survey Iran 2013

Field WorkPosted by C├ęcile Baeteman Mon, March 11, 2013 14:08:10

Field work in the Lower Khuzestan plain (SW Iran), February 2013 by the partner of the Geological Survey of Belgium (The Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences).

Changing positions of the shoreline of the Persian Gulf in relation to sea-level changes and sediment supply by the rivers and the sea played an important role in the southern Mesopotamian history and the patterns of human settlement. Changing shoreline positions in Lower Khuzestan (SW Iran) are associated with changing landscapes such as tidal flats, marshes, sabkhas and fluvial plains. The data for the reconstruction of the changing landscapes in time, or the palaeogeography, are recorded in the subsoil and hence, recovered by coring.

The first coring campaign of this IAP 7/14 project took place in February 2013 in an area of about 4000 km2 surrounding Shadegan. The one-month field campaign was carried out by Prof. Cecile Baeteman and MSc Rindert Janssens from the Geological Survey of Belgium (The Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences) with the joint effort by colleagues of the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) and 2 PhD students of the University of Teheran. Dr. Razi Lak from the GSI organized the excellent logistic support together with the Environmental Office of Abadan.

27 hand-operated undisturbed cores until a depth of 11 m were described and sampled for further investigation (14C dating, mineralogy, XRD, palaeontology). Particularly the information at greater depth (that was not attained during the 2 campaigns of the previous IAP P5/14 project) provided new ideas of the palaeogeography and environmental changes. Tidally influenced deposits were found until about 50 km northwest of the present-day shoreline of the Persian Gulf; marsh deposits alternating with river deposits indicate periods of frequent flooding; dust deposits in the fluvial record were now discovered as well as a former course of the river Jarrahi in the eastern part of the study area.

Dust deposits in the fluvial record.

Small boats were used to get access for coring in the Shadegan marshes.

At the occasion of his stay in Abadan, Rindert Janssens was invited by Prof. Dr. Dadolagi Sohrab and his team of the Khorramshahr University of Marine Sciences and Technology in Abadan to present the preliminary results of the field work. A future collaboration with this university will also be established because of their great interest in the results about the Holocene geology that hitherto was unknown to them.

Coring in cold weather, despite the semi-arid warm climate.

Exeptional flooding of the Lower Khuzestan plain between Abadan and Shadegan, February 2013.

A well deserved and well organized lunch after the hard work.

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