SPE Baghdad Section Sponsors Geological Field Trip for IUTT Student Chapter to Wadi Dhahr, Yemen

IUTT SPE student chapter members during a field trip to Wadi Dhahr, Sana’a, Yemen.

Last November, in a first of its kind, SPE Baghdad Section sponsored a geological field trip for the benefit of the SPE student chapter members of the International University of Technology Twintech (IUTT), Yemen. The chapter board of directors and faculty advisor planned and organized the trip, which was financially sponsored by the SPE Baghdad Section. The trip was held in Wadi Dhahr, located north of Sana’a on the western edge of the Sana’a plain in Sana’a, Yemen, which is part of the namesake structural geology course.

The geographic location was chosen because of its unique characteristics. Wadi Dhahr is made up of mountain outcrops of sedimentary rocks from the Kuhlan formation, which is part of the Altawilah group and is one of the most important oil and gas bearing formations. The Kuhlan formation is made up of fluvial sandstone with high reservoir-rock quality.

The geological variations in Wadi Dhahr are also remarkable, which serves the objective of this trip: introducing students to the geological formations they will explore and exploit in Yemen. The tectonic faults, for example, are plainly visible, and an aerial view reveals that the area is primarily an anticline overlain by a Yemeni volcanic group (the primary cause of the formation of this valley).

For more than 6 hours, the students alongside the course teaching faculty member, Mohammed ALmoalem, and the student chapter faculty advisor, Amr Almoghalless, were able to observe and study the formations in the entire valley. Almoalem provided an introduction to the structural and stratigraphic features of Yemen as well as for the Wadi Dhahr area, the relationship between them, and the rifting of the Red Sea. The students benefitted immensely from the information shared during the field trip; several discussions ensued from which the students gained a great deal of clarification and information about the geology and its relationship with the main petroleum systems.

The geological trip provided students with an opportunity to leave the lecture hall and engage in hands-on activities that allowed them to get exposure to different field techniques to identify the structural units and stratigraphy of the formations and sedimentary rocks. This geological trip was part of the IUTT Student Chapter's efforts to collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge about the oil and gas and energy industries with the students, who will be the industry's next generation of professionals, capable of adapting through innovation, a strong technical background, and strong values.