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Sabkhas ideal source of energy: Professor

posted on 19/03/2015: 1990 views

In an aim to highlight the importance of "sabkha” and its potential economic possibilities in the future, a professor at Zayed University (ZU) presented several studies and filmed a documentary to tell a story about Abu Dhabi's history and its marine environment and to better understand the past and current earth process.

Sabkha is a phonetic translation of the Arabic word for a salt flat. Sabkhas are low-lying coastal salt flats of unique geological significance that have an average thickness of a metre or less and under threat because of rapid development.

Dr Fares M Howari, Professor at the College of Sustainability and Humanities, filmed a documentary on the geology of UAE with emphases on Jebel Hafeet and the sabkha's of Abu Dhabi emirate.

He emphasised the importance of sabkhas and how it can be an ideal source for hydrocarbon energy, solar energy, and ideal sites foralgae culture.

His documentary will be featured on a programme entitled "Mega structures,” World's Biggest Sewer for NGC Network International and will be translated into Arabic and aired on the National Geographic channel of Abu Dhabi in April.

"The film demonstrated how the shallow groundwater presents a challenge for mega structures. The shallow groundwater in some areas could cause mineral dissolution. The film shooting revealed gypsum deposits in Abu Dhabi and visited some caves. Basically, gypsum occurs at relatively shallow depth in the rocks.

It is susceptible to dissolution by circulating ground waters leading to localised development of underground cavities. The cavities can become unstable and collapse, leading to their upward migration and ultimately to the subsidence of the ground surface,” Dr Howari, who has more than 16 years technical and administrative experience and knowledge in a wide range of project development and implementation in the area of environmental, soil and agriculture issues, said.

Dr Howari accompanied the film crew to the sabkha's of Abu Dhabi emirate where they shot pictures that show the shallow groundwater, gypsum, halite formation among other earth processes. – The Gulf Today -


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