The Norway of Arabia

Wells, Rhona
February 2004
Middle East;Feb2004, Issue 342, p59
The Musandam Peninsula forms the northernmost part of Oman, jutting out into the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf. At its nearest point it is just 55 km from Iran across the strait. To observe fossils embedded in rock at a height of some 3,000 metres above sea level is nothing short of amazing, all the more fantastic when one realises these fossils of long dead sea creatures are confirmation of how these once submerged rocks have folded, collided and emerged from the waters as the perpendicular mountains that today dominate the Strait of Hormuz. Shell fragments, fossils and brachiopods in limestone clearly indicate continental shelf conditions. Iranians import sheep and goats in small fibre glass boats with very powerful engines into the local port, from where the animals are dispatched to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in trucks. On their return trip to the Islamic Republic, the sailors load their boats up with electronic goods and American cigarettes. The new road also allows access to the village of Tawi, where prehistoric drawings of boats, animals and warriors can be seen in the rock face.


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