Filling the gaps – Third
Lower-Khuzestan campaign, SW-Iran

20/04 – 11/05/2015: Frieda Bogemans & Rindert Janssens

The latest possible week of departure was very stressful as
usual. The visas were still lying at the Iranian embassy after 2 months of
waiting for our official visa number. Once we got hold on it we jumped onto the
airplane and left for Teheran. A short visit to the Geological Survey of Iran
in Karaj awaited us followed by a flight to Ahvaz.

Despite the pretty hot temperature it seemed it was again a
very fruitful campaign. After 2 years of experience of our local GSI manager Javad
and PhD student Reza we managed to fill important gaps needed for a decent
reconstruction of the past environments in the study area. Although some areas
were still too wet to reach by car, we were able to find all our necessary
locations by driving many kilometres back and forth. The result, however, is
obvious: 23 new cores until a depth of 12 m. This brings our total number of
cores to 67 for this project. Seven samples for age determination and over 100
samples for (clay) mineralogical study were collected.

Before returning home, the Geological Survey of Iran took
advantage of the experience of Frieda who explained the methodology of mapping
Quaternary deposits because the GSI started such a project. An unexpected
impact of IUAP !

Several locations were situated in or around Shadegan, a
large irrigated area with a same named city in its centre. This palm green area
is known for its delicious but sticky dates and its curious Arab inhabitants. More
than once we were accompanied with an audience as if we were part of a movie,
waiting for something very funny to happen. This luckily never did. Some other
locations were situated in huge sugar cane fields for which we needed specific
governmental documents, which we didn’t have last year. Javad organised them
this time long before our arrival in Ahvaz.

During the campaign 7 Iranian PhD students accompanied us in
order to be trained in describing undisturbed hand drilled cores. To avoid
headache they didn’t come all at once but in groups of 1 or 2.