Field work in the Lower Khuzestan plain (SW Iran), February 2013
by the partner of the Geological Survey of Belgium (The Royal Belgium Institute
of Natural Sciences).

Changing positions of the shoreline of
the Persian Gulf in relation to
sea-level changes and sediment supply by the rivers and the sea played an important role in the southern Mesopotamian
history and the patterns of human settlement. Changing shoreline positions in
Lower Khuzestan (SW Iran) are associated with changing landscapes such as tidal
flats, marshes, sabkhas and fluvial plains. The data for the reconstruction of
the changing landscapes in time, or the palaeogeography, are recorded in the
subsoil and hence, recovered by coring.

The first coring campaign of this IAP 7/14 project took place in
February 2013 in an area of about 4000 km2 surrounding Shadegan. The
one-month field campaign was carried out by Prof. Cecile Baeteman and MSc
Rindert Janssens from the Geological Survey of Belgium (The Royal Belgium
Institute of Natural Sciences) with the joint effort by colleagues of the
Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) and 2 PhD students of the University of
Teheran. Dr. Razi Lak from the GSI organized the excellent logistic support
together with the Environmental Office of Abadan.

27 hand-operated undisturbed cores until a depth of 11 m were described and
sampled for further investigation (14C dating, mineralogy, XRD, palaeontology). Particularly the information at greater depth (that
was not attained during the 2 campaigns of the previous IAP P5/14 project) provided
new ideas of the palaeogeography and environmental changes. Tidally influenced
deposits were found until about 50 km northwest of the present-day shoreline of
the Persian Gulf; marsh deposits alternating with river deposits indicate
periods of frequent flooding; dust deposits in the fluvial record were now
discovered as well as a former course of the river Jarrahi in the eastern part
of the study area.

Dust deposits in the fluvial record.

Small boats were used to get access for coring in the
Shadegan marshes.

At the occasion of his stay in Abadan, Rindert Janssens was invited by Prof.
Dr. Dadolagi Sohrab and his team of the Khorramshahr University of Marine
Sciences and Technology in Abadan to present the preliminary results of the
field work. A future collaboration with this university will also be
established because of their great interest in the results about the Holocene
geology that hitherto was unknown to them.

Coring in cold weather, despite the semi-arid warm climate.

Exeptional flooding of the Lower Khuzestan plain
between Abadan and Shadegan, February 2013.

A well deserved and well organized lunch after the hard
work.