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Geophysics: Exploring the subsurface

Welcome, my name is Biruk Abera Cherkose, I am a Ph.D. student at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). I am studying the UAE-Oman Ophiolite using the Magnetotelluric (MT) Method.

My Ph.D. Research Title: Deep Magneto-Telluric Investigation of the Oman-UAE Mountain Belt: Implication for Ophiolite Emplacement and Tectonic Collision

Fig. The UAE-Oman (Samail) Ophiolite. An ophiolite is a part of the oceanic crust and the upper mantle that has been uplifted and exposed above sea level and often emplaced onto continental crustal rocks. They are sequences of oceanic crust and upper mantle materials formed at different geological times found near the surfaces of continents (Pilia et al., 2015).

Supervisor: Associate Professor, Dr. Hakim Saibi

This project aims to investigate the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Oman ophiolite tectonic origin and emplacement using the Magneto-Telluric (MT) method by imaging deep subsurface resistivity structures underneath the UAE-Oman mountains. The Oman-UAE mountain belt exposes the largest and best preserved ophiolite thrust sheet complex in the world. The mountain belt is about 600 km long, 150 km wide, and 15 -20 km thick orogenic belt that developed during the Cenozoic on an underlying extensional Tethyan rifted margin. Two tectonic models tried to explain the origin and the mechanism of uplift to the continental (obduction). One group of researchers believe the ophiolite originated at a fast spreading, Mid-Ocean Ridge (MOR) and others suggested an ophiolite originated from Supra-Subduction Zone (SSZ). These tectonic models are based on results from geological, geochemical and shallow depth investigations. The shallow structures of the upper crust is reasonably well known from geological field mapping. However, deep structures, especially structures of the lower crust and upper mantle are poorly known. To understand the tectonic setting of the UAE-Oman ophiolite in detail, imaging deep subsurface structures related to tectonic features in the lower crust (LC) and upper mantle (UM) underneath the UAE-Oman ophiolite mountains is necessary. The main goal of this Ph.D. project is to use the Magnetotelluric method together with already existing seismic data and other geological information to determine the deep structure of the Oman-UAE mountains and explains the origin and emplacement of the UAE-Oman ophiolite.

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