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ABC/J Excursion 2020

Sultanate of Oman. A Changing Desert.

Geoverbund ABC/J geoscientific–geographic excursion

Geoverbund ABC/J is packing you off to the desert! It's doing so because of the positive feedback from those who went on the excursion in the previous four years and because of the huge demand for places the fifth time around. The excursion is of an interdisciplinary nature and is aimed at students of the geosciences and geography who are completing a bachelor's or master's course or who are pursuing a doctorate. Each excursion place benefits from a € 500 subsidy from Geoverbund ABC/J.

© Jörn Bittner“Mother of all outcrops”, gefalteter Radiolarit, Oman
Copyright: Jörn Bittner

Dates and excursion organizers

  • Date: March 1-15, 2020 (of which 12 days will be in the field)
    The excursion will begin on March 2 at 09:00 and will end on March 14 at 18:00 in Muscat. A day has been scheduled for the outward journey (March 1) and another for the return journey (March 15).
  • Organizers: PD Dr. Gösta Hoffmann1,2,3 & Valeska Decker1

1 University of Bonn, Institute of Geosciences and Meteorology, environmental geology group (exogenous processes)
2 German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology, Applied Geosciences
3 RWTH Aachen University, Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet (Institute) of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards

Excursion route and topics

The Sultanate of Oman is on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The excursion route runs through the northeast of the country. Oman has an arid climate and humidity is high in its coastal regions. Annual precipitation is between 50 mm and 300 mm, while temperatures range from 15°C to 45°C. The Oman Mountains reach a peak elevation of 3000 metres. The ABC/J excursion will begin and end in the capital city of Oman, Muscat.

The excursion is interdisciplinary and it will cover the entire breadth of the geosciences and geography. It will address the following topics:

  • The changing Earth (geology)
  • The changing landscape (coasts, deserts, oases, flora & fauna)
  • A changing society (history, archaeology, cultural development, climate change & agriculture)

The topics of the excursion will be prepared elaborated on by the participants and each of them will give a relevant presentation. A seminar will be held to prepare participants for the excursion.

  • Date: December 13, 2019, 09:00-15:00 h
  • Venue: University of Bonn, Institute of Geosciences, Nussallee 8, 53115 Bonn (room to be announced)
  • Topic: General introduction and organizational matters, assignment of presentation topics

The preparatory seminar is part of the excursion and is a prerequisite for academic credits.

Students enrolled on bachelor's- or master's courses affiliated with Geoverbund ABC/J can apply for academic credits for excursion participation; the requirements will be assessed on an individual basis. Questions regarding academic credits should be directed to the responsible person at the universities.

Excursion contribution and organizational aspects

Excursion contribution

The excursion contribution for places subsidized by Geoverbund ABC/J is € 900 per person. This is the amount remaining after deduction of the subsidy provided by Geoverbund ABC/J. The excursion contribution is calculated as follows: Logistics (€ 1400 per person) - subsidy (€ 500 per person) = excursion contribution (€ 900 per person). The excursion contribution covers the following costs: two nights in a hotel in Muscat (one night for the day of arrival/first day of the excursion and one night for the last day of the excursion/day of departure), food and drink during the excursion as well as necessary equipment (incl. tent, dishes), rental cars, petrol, service vehicle, necessary admission charges (= logistics costs). The excursion contribution must be paid after confirmation of an excursion place and upon receipt of the invoice.

Four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles, driven by the excursion participants, will be used for transport in Oman. Participants will cook, eat, wash dishes, and sleep in the field and – as rain is rare – at times in the open air. As the excursion is a hands-on outdoor expedition, all participants will have to help out. The logistics will be arranged by the excursion organizers together with the logistics partner Golden Highlands.

Further costs

The excursion contribution does not include the costs of the outward and return journey (usually flights), individual expenses for visas and other travel documents, any necessary vaccinations, or personal expenses in Oman. These costs must be borne by the excursion participants. Each participant is also responsible for booking their own flights. Return flights from Frankfurt to Muscat are usually in the region of € 420 to € 670 depending on the connections. A Tourist Visa for Oman costs around € 46 (about OMR 20). Information on entry regulations, medical information, and other information can be found in German on the Federal Foreign Office’s website It is advisable to take out travel health insurance because university insurance generally does not cover leisure activities.

Organizational aspects

Geoverbund ABC/J’s coordination office at Forschungszentrum Jülich is responsible for all organizational aspects of the excursion (incl. application for a place).

Participation requirements and application

The excursion is open to all university students (undergraduates, postgraduates, doctoral researchers) who are members of Geoverbund ABC/J. Bachelor's and master’s students must be enrolled on a university course affiliated with Geoverbund ABC/J (overview of affiliated bachelor's- and master' courses). PhD students must belong to a member institute of Geoverbund ABC/J. Please notice that the excursion language is German!

Individuals interested in the ABC/J excursion can apply for one of the 20 excursion places subsidized by Geoverbund ABC/J. The application comprises a letter of motivation, outlining points of interest in Oman, as well as a tabular curriculum vitae. University students must additionally append a current certificate of enrolment. All documents must be combined and submitted as a single PDF document to Geoverbund ABC/J's coordination office (application deadline: October 31, 2019 (Thursday)). Excursion participants will be chosen on the basis of their letter of motivation. All applicants will be notified of the decision at the beginning of winter semester 2019/20 (probably within calender week 45/46).

In addition, interested scientists who are members of Geoverbund ABC/J and are willing to pay for themselves have the opportunity to take part in the excursion. Those who are interested should contact the coordination office.

Further information on the Sultanate of Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is a monarchy headed by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur Al Said. In 1991, the Majlis Al Shura was set up as a consultation council. The capital city of Muscat (including its metropolitan area) has a population of around 1 million. The total population of Oman is around 5 million with a growth rate of 3.56 percent per annum. Some 1.5 million foreigners live in Oman. The Omani population is predominantly of Arab, Baluchi, Persian, and Indian origin, many of whom have migrated to the country. Eighty-three percent of the Omani population are under the age of 35; the average age is 29.3 years. The official language is Arabic. The state religion is Islam; 88 percent of the population are Muslims (mainly Ibadis, Sunnites, and Shiites).
We would like to draw you attention to the travel advice available in German on the Federal Foreign Office's website.

General information

The information on this page has been compiled with care. However, no responsibility can be accepted for the content being up to date and correct. Subject to change. This page is updated regularly.


Queries related to the participation requirements, the application procedure, or general organizational issues should be directed to Geoverbund ABC/J's coordination office. Questions on the excursion route, the topics, or the Sultanate of Oman should be directed to the excursion organizers.

© Gösta Hoffmann

PD Dr. Gösta Hoffmann

Excursion organizer

University of Bonn
Institute of Geosciences and Meteorology
(former Steinmann Institute of Geology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology)
Nussallee 8
53115 Bonn

phone: +49 228 73-4711

© Valeska Decker

Valeska Decker

Excursion organizer

University of Bonn
Institute of Geosciences and Meteorology
(former Steinmann Institute of Geology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology)
Nussallee 8
53115 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 73-4724

Additional Information

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