By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — A team of researchers from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) are embarking on a study aimed at characterising and classifying a collection of Omani meteorites through detailed geochemical, mineralogical and petrological analysis. Professor Sobhi Nasir, the chief investigator at the College of Engineering, says that “meteorites are the remnant fragments from the formation of the solar system. By examining a meteorite, we are looking at the chemical composition of the solar system as it was being born.”
In 1999, meteorite hunters discovered that the desert in southern and central Oman is a favourable area for the collection of many rare specimens, he said, adding that the gravel plains in the Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates, south of the sandy deserts of the Rub al Khali, have yielded about 5,000 meteorites as of mid-2009. Included among these are a large number of lunar and Martian meteorites, making Oman a particularly important area both for scientists and collectors.
Early expeditions to Oman were mainly done by commercial meteorite dealers, however international teams of Omani and European scientists have also now collected specimens. In recent years Oman has been one of the world centres of meteorite discovery. In 2011, Oman contributed around 14 per cent of all the world’s meteorite finds excluding Antarctica.