Geology and geophysics of the United Arab Emirates

Wadi Hagil mountains

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Khor Fakkan Cover 50k

The information below is provided by the UAE Ministry of Energy as an introduction to the BGS-funded project from 2002–2006

Detailed geological study and mapping of the mountainous and adjacent areas

The UAE mountains have been studied by geologists since 1960. Illustrious faculty members of European, American and Japanese Universities in addition to international oil companies and graduate students have all studied these mountains.

The vast majority of these investigations were carried out in the Sultanate of Oman.

The UAE segment of the complex has been less completely surveyed than elsewhere. These past programmes implemented over the last four decades have inevitably led to varying, and at times contradictory, explanations of the origin and evolution of the ophiolite.

The setting of the ophiolite is still disputed but this is an academic question. It is this deficiency that the Ministry's project aimed to correct. To achieve this, the Ministry has designed a programme of investigation consisting of four components as shown below:

A detailed accurate, reliable, field-based geologic mapping at 1:100 000, 1:50 000 and 1:25 000, in which more than 18 900 waypoints were visited, and 4500 samples were collected for analysis. A party of field mapping geologists backed by a large team of experts in different branches of geology have actually spent more than 2400 man-days in the field and 800 man-days of office and laboratory work. The objective was to produce accurate world class geologic maps and understand the tectonic evolution throughout the geological ages and its impact on the formation of structural features, basin development and sedimentation and the relationship of that with hydrocarbon generation, and migration in an effort to locate new fields.

The Ministry entrusted the project to the British Geological Survey assisted by subcontractors specialising in seismic, airborne magnetics and radio-metrics and advanced seismic and sedimentological interpretation.

250 000 scale map

The large anticlinal oil fields have all been discovered and we need to look for smaller fields controlled by complex structural and stratigraphic traps. Deep seismic surveys across the Oman–UAE mountains penetrating up to 50 km below the surface of the earth were undertaken to assist in the location of possible sedimentary Basins and petroleum traps under the thrust sheets covering the eastern mountain front and the Dibba Zone.

The Ministry carried out airborne magnetic and radiometric surveys covering more than 75 500 km flight lines to differentiate between the sedimentary formations and determine the depth to the crust in the sedimentary rock covered areas. Over the ophiolite and metamorphic covered areas this technique was used to determine the variations in magnetic susceptibilities of the rocks, their radiometric readings and what is causing the radiation if found.

Advanced interpretations of the seismic sections were achieved. The rocks were analysed and studied for possible hydrocarbon generation in the foreland basin.

The reports and maps resulting from the study and their prices are as shown below:

Price (Dhs) Specification Item no.

30 000

Reports on airborne magnetic and radiometric surveys consisting of 10 volumes and (120 maps) and Images

Geophysical Report for Al Ain, Dhaid, Hatta, Dibba, Al Hiyar, Ras Al Khaimah & Fujairah

  • Project Methodology
    Integrated Geophysical Interpretation of Airborne Magnetic & spectral Data, Field Verification & Geophysical Modelling, UAE
  • Summary Technical Report on Geophysical Interpretation of Airborne Magnetic and Spectral Data, UAE
  • Enclosures at 1:250 000 scale

Geological maps of different scales will be sold at the following prices:

Price (Dhs) Specification Item No.
With explanation booklet Without explanation booklet
300 200 Geological map 1: 25 000
Al Tawyen, Bani Hamid, Hatta, Wadi Hagil
250 150 Geological map 1:50 000 Al Fujairah, Al Ain, Hatta, Khor Fakkan, Al Rams, Dibba  
200 100 Geological map 1:100 000 Al Ain, Al Dhaid, Al Hiyar, Ras Al Khaimah
-- 250 Geological map of the Northern Emirates 1:250 000
500 volume 4 Geological Hazard -- Seismic hazard map 1:500 000
3 000 14 Geological maps of different scales with explanation booklet.
45 000 Reports on the deep seismic survey consisting of 3 volumes and (20 seismic sections)
  • Deep seismic profiling in the UAE
    Final Data Acquisition Report December 2002–April 2003
  • Data Processing Report Date: August 2004
  • 2D structural interpretation of Deep seismic reflection profiles in UAE (June 2005)
35 000 Reports on advanced seismic interpretation consisting of 4 volumes
  • Deep seismic survey in the Northern Emirates
    • volume 1: Executive summary
    • volume 2: Main interpretation and modelling report
    • volume 3: Depth seismic processing report
    • volume 4: Refraction seismic report: lines D1, D2, D4


  • 300
  • 1 200
  • 500
  • 500
  • 500

The geology and geophysics of the UAE

  • volume 1: Executive summary
  • volume 2: Geology
  • volume 3: Economic geology
  • volume 4: Geological hazards
  • volume 5: Appendices

Price of raw digital Magnetic radiometric and seismic data are based on the number of kilometres required

  • The UAE Ministry of Energy will not be liable for shipping costs of maps, explanation booklets or reports sold.
  • For more information contact:
    Ministry of Energy
    Petroleum & Mineral Resources Sector
    Dept. of Geology & Mineral Resources
    Tel: 009712 6126500 / 6262288
    Fax: 009712 6274612 / 6272291
    P.O. Box: 59 - Abu Dhabi - U.A.E.