Oman Ophiolite

A modern and an ancient Arabian-Eurasian Plate boundary border the Gulf of Oman. The modern transform plate boundary is the Oman Line or Minab fault that lies along the Iranian side of the Gulf; part of the ancient collisional boundary is preserved on the Oman side. That older, extinct segment formed at the same time (Late Cretaceous, ~70 million years ago) that the collision of the Arabian and Eurasian Plates was getting underway across Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. In latest Cretaceous time the Gulf of Oman was a new rift; relative plate motions then reversed and, instead of continuing to open, the Gulf started to close. As the two sides of the former rift moved toward each other, the eastern side (present geographic coordinates) of newly formed oceanic crust was driven up over the western side. The limestone reefs covering Oman at that time became buried beneath oceanic sedimentary and igneous rocks (ophiolite), a relationship that is now well displayed in the mountain ranges of Oman.


This is a northward view up the Persian Gulf, across Oman(O) and the Straits of Hormuz (H) to the Southern Zagros Mountains beyond. Dust storm covers northern Gulf. Dark mountains of Oman are oceanic crust - basaltic igneous rocks and sedimentary strata (= ophiolite; O) that was driven over the adjacent continental crust. Buraymi (B) is at the north end of the prominent narrow mountain (an anticline).

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