May 29, 2024



The Trilobite’s Sahara Kingdom – GeoWorld Vacation Diaries

8 min read

November 2023 noticed the eighth operating of GeoWorld Travel’s “The Trilobite’s Sahara Kingdom” trip to Morocco. We ended up delighted to welcome company from the British isles, the Usa, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands on our latest geological experience. We adopted the very same route as in former a long time, journeying from Marrakesh, throughout the Superior Atlas through Zagora to Merzouga, ahead of returning via the Todra Gorge to Marrakesh to conclude the tour.

GeoWorld Travel’s “Morocco: The Trilobite’s Sahara Kingdom” route map

Our tour route took us to various fossil and mineral localities, together with salt mines and mineral mines, trilobite web-sites from the Cambrian, Ordovician and Devonian, and dinosaur web sites, the place many teeth and bones have been discovered. The guests also experienced a prospect to experience a camel in the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, to see the wonderful Ait Ben Haddou Entire world Heritage Internet site and to discover the enchanting medina and souk of Marrakesh (also a Earth Heritage Web site). As generally, we returned from the trip with a big variety of photos illustrating our adventures, so we have picked our favourites and these are shared underneath.

Simply click on photographs to enlarge

Previously mentioned remaining: Our group’s cars parked outside an agate packing warehouse close to the Sidi Rahhal agate quarry.

Best correct: A perspective of a faulted get hold of among Ordovician aged sedimentary rocks in the foreground and Ediacaran aged volcanic rocks in the qualifications, in the vicinity of to the Tizi n Tischka move, which is the optimum level on the major street throughout the Higher Atlas Mountains.

Base right: Brachiopods in a Center Cambrian aged breccia noticed near the Tizi n Tischka go in the Superior Atlas mountains.

Above still left: One of the big faults in the Substantial Atlas Mountains. The crimson coloured rock to the still left is Triassic aged rock, even though the rock to the ideal is Ordovician aged. The Superior Atlas is a transpressional fault process, with both of those thrust faulting and strike-slip faulting – this fault is an illustration of the latter.

Prime appropriate: Our team walks on a ‘river’ of salt around the Telouet Salt Mine. This graphic tells the tale of the splitting of the Atlantic Ocean. The purple-coloured Triassic rocks were being deposited in a terrestrial atmosphere, though the darkish-coloured basalts had been erupted as the Atlantic was rifting, the salt is because of to multiple flood and evaporation functions during the development of the Atlantic, and finally the yellow-colored rocks exhibit that the place had moved to a shallow maritime natural environment. In addition, a observe tower can be noticed on major of the middle hill in the qualifications, which dates again many generations to the time when salt was practically worthy of its fat in gold.

Bottom appropriate: Ediacaran stromatolites in close proximity to Ouarzazate, which are 570ma previous. They happen in the Ouarzazate volcano-sedimentary supergroup which maintain a history of both of those explosive volcanic activity and effusive lava flows. The stromatolites grew all-around the shore of ponds in this volcanically active region. The ponds would have been alkaline simply because the water became silica prosperous from passing through volcanic ash.

Earlier mentioned still left: A view to Ouarzazate Solar Ability Station (OSPS), also referred to as Noor Ability Station, which is the world’s greatest concentrated solar electric power plant. The tower noticeable in the photograph is aspect of Noor 3, which incorporates mirrors mounted horizontally on platforms which are supported by 10 metre columns. Every system is approximately the dimension of a tennis courtroom, and the panels follow the light-weight, reflecting it to a 250m tall photo voltaic tower.

Previously mentioned right: The GeoWorld Travel team notice Reduced Cambrian aged sediments in a latest highway cut around Tizi-n-Tinififft, which is the maximum position on the road traversing the Anti Atlas Mountains among Ouarzazate and Agdz.

Earlier mentioned still left: Perspective of Jebel Kissane from Agdz. The mountain wonderfully demonstrates the Reduce Ordovician stratigraphy and, in the foreground, day palms mature in the fertile Draa Valley.

Top suitable: Customers of the GeoWorld Journey team inspecting discarded trilobite fragments at Oued Slimane. This is found in the reduced element of the Fezouata Shale which dates to the Ordovician interval, more exactly, the late Tremadocian epoch.

Bottom correct: Fragments of huge trilobites discarded by trilobite miners at Oued Slimane.

Above remaining: The GeoWorld Travel team take a look at the Ben Moula diggings in the Fezouata Shale Lagerstätte, near Zagora. The Fezouata Shale Lagerstätte is a person of the world’s most significant fossil sites with extraordinary soft-bodied preservation of a fauna that resembles the Cambrian Burgess Shale in Canada.

Leading right: A dikelokephalina trilobite from the Fezouata Shale.

Base ideal: A marrellomorph arthropod from the Higher Tremadocian Fezouata Shale.

Over still left: Howard factors to an outcrop of Silurian-aged limestone which is entire of orthoceras fossils at the Serdrar orthoceras quarry.

Earlier mentioned right: The GeoWorld Travel team examining fossil diggings in Middle Ordovician aged rocks near Battou.

Over left: Moroccodiscus smithi, a cyclocystoid echinoderm, located by one particular of our group, close to Battou.

Earlier mentioned right: Big radiodont arthropod (as soon as acknowledged as anomalocarididae) Aegirocassis benmoulae – named immediately after Mohammed Ben Moula who learned the Fezouata Lagerstätte.

Earlier mentioned left: Trilobite diggings at Jebel Tiskouine. The rocks in this article are from the Ktaoua Development of the Higher Ordovician (Katian (Caradoc)). These trilobites are most usually referred to as Calymenes or ‘mud bugs’, but they are in reality largely Copocoryphe. This trilobite has been stocked in the fossil stores of the world for around 20 several years and 15 million specimens have been sold.

Above ideal: A calymene or ‘mud bug’ from Jebel Tiskouine.

Previously mentioned still left: A trilobite preparator employs a sand blaster to prepare a Devonian trilobite in Alnif.

Above correct: A near-up of a trilobite preparator applying a sand blaster to prepare a Devonian trilobite in Alnif.

Earlier mentioned left: The GeoWorld Travel group at Bou Dib on Jebel Issoumour. In the 1970’s and 80’s, Jebel Issoumour turned a single of the most famous spots in the environment for early & center Devonian trilobites. The horizons are mined for numerous kilometres and are Late Emsian to Early Eifelian in age.

Prime right: An assortment of Devonian aged fossils noticed at Bou Dib on Jebel Issoumour.

Base appropriate: A trilobite miner at El Atchana. The Ihander Development outcrops here, which is Pragian (Devonian) in age. There are two diverse fossil horizons which are named just after their most famed trilobites: Dicranurus & Kolihapeltis.

Previously mentioned still left: Rushing across the desert to the Mherch oasis.

Best proper: The Mherch oasis with the Guelb El Mherch hydrothermal mud mound (or bioherm) in the background. This is a 45m substantial mound which grew in the Givetian epoch (Devonian time period).

Base correct: Watch wanting absent from Mherch.

Above: The Milky Way as witnessed from Mherch. The deficiency of light air pollution here gives exceptional disorders for stargazing.

Over still left: Devonian goniatites observed at Jebel El Krabis.

Top rated proper: A distant view of the Eifelian-Givetian worldwide stratotype GSSP (golden spike) from Jebel Amelane.

Base proper: ‘Erfoud Stone’ – purple massive Sphenoclymenia limestone, found at Jebel Amelane. The stone consists of equally orthoceras and the ammonoid Gonioclymenia.

Over still left: The GeoWorld Journey team in the Erg Chebbi dunes in close proximity to Merzouga. In destinations, the dunes of Erg Chebbi rise to 150m higher. Altogether they stretch 28km from north to south, and up to 5-7km from east to west.

Above suitable: A fossil miner looking for dinosaur remains inside of a tunnel at the Kem Kem Cretacious-aged fossil beds.

Higher than remaining: A box of fossils gathered by a local miner in the Kem Kem beds. These beds are Cenomanian (100ma) in age. These beds have disclosed above 80 vertebrate taxa which include crocodiles, pterosaurs, scherorhynchid sharks, lung fish, bony fish, turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians. Most famously of all while, they have revealed dinosaurs.

Earlier mentioned appropriate: The Kem Kem beds in the vicinity of Taouz.

Above still left: Some of the GeoWorld Journey group inside of the Filon 12 Mineral Mine, which started off everyday living as a haematite mine. It is now a mine solely for mineralogical specimens and minerals found right here consist of vanadinite, goethite and haematite.

Best ideal: The GeoWorld Vacation group taking pleasure in an night camel experience in the Erg Chebbi dunes close to Merzouga.

Base proper: The GeoWorld Journey team watching the sunlight setting above the Erg Chebbu dunes in close proximity to Merzouga.

Above remaining: Mary and Graham at Hamar Laghdad (also recognized as the Kes Kes), which is a person of Morocco’s very best recognized Devonian web-sites. There are forty or extra carbonate mounds in a 7km line which fashioned on a volcano as hydrothermal mud mounds. They have been exposed by erosion and are seen sitting on their palaeo surface. Corals and trilobites utilised to be abundant but have been intensely gathered.

Prime right: A tabletop created from Erfoud Stone currently being polished in an orthoceras manufacturing unit in Erfoud.

Bottom proper: Tables and fossils for sale in the shop of the orthoceras manufacturing unit of Erfoud.

Over remaining: The Tahiri Museum in close proximity to Erfoud

Higher than proper: Inside of Brahim’s fossil shop in Alnif

Above still left: A Center Cambrian internet site close to Alnif where the big yellow trilobite, Cambropallas, is discovered.

Top appropriate: A Cambropallas fossil. Cambropallas is a genus of trilobite in the family Holmiidae.

Bottom suitable: A big thrust fault witnessed in Tinghir. The yellower Jurassic-aged rocks are observed thrusting over pink Cretaceous-aged rocks. This thrust fault varieties a unexpected maximize in relief and is the get started of the High Atlas Mountains.

Earlier mentioned left: The Tohdra Gorge cuts as a result of Jurassic-aged rocks pursuing the line of a fault which can be seen in the center of this picture.

Top correct: The GeoWorld Travel group on a guided tour of Ait Ben Haddou UNESCO Globe Heritage Website.

Base ideal: Ait Ben Haddou UNESCO Earth Heritage Website. The web-site has been fortified since the 11th century, but the existing properties day from the 17th century. This is the most well-known ksar in the Ounilla Valley. A ksar is a group of earthen buildings surrounded by large partitions and is a regular pre-Saharan habitat. The web-site was also just one of the a lot of trading posts on the business route linking historical Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n’Telouet Go.

We hope you have appreciated the photographs of our newest Moroccan adventure. We will be returning to Morocco upcoming yr and past – facts listed here: Be sure to make contact with us is you would like to sign up for us in this amazing Trilobite Kingdom!

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