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£7M Emirates commission for BGS

BRITISH GEOLOGICAL Survey has won a £7M contract to map the geology of the north-eastern United Arab Emirates.

BGS researchers will carry out studies in the Northern Emirates where ophiolites - sections of the oceanic crust and the upper mantle - have been pushed on to the continental margin of limestones and other sediments by powerful plate tectonic forces.

Detailed mapping will provide geological maps at scales at 1:50,000 and 1:100,000, together with some detailed coverage at 1:25,000.

The four-year contact, which began at the end of April, will involve a multidisciplinary team of up to 30 BGS staff as well as some from the Natural Environment Research Council Isotope Geology Laboratory.

Most of the fieldwork will be done during the cooler months from October to April. Supporting work, such as satellite interpretation and rock analyses will continue throughout the year. To add to the in-depth interpretation, an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey and deep seismic profiling will be carried out.

The UAE hopes the survey may lead to the discovery of metallic and industrial minerals and possibly, new oil and gas resources, although the latter is not the main objective. Other studies will relate to geohazards, groundwater and engineering geology.

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