Project COOL

-- Crust of the Oman Ophiolite and its Lithosphere --

In autumn 2013 we deployed a passive seismic network in northern Oman to precise the present-day geometry of the worlds reference ophiolite and the continental lithosphere beneath it. Fourty broadband seismometers, supplied by the Geophysical Instrument Pool Potsdam (GIPP) were operated until February 2016 in the area of the Oman Mountains from Ras al Hadd in the far easternmost corner of the Arabian Plate to the border of the United Arab Emirates in the northernmost corner of Oman (Fig. 1). The network consisted of thirty Güralp CMG-3ESP Compact, six Trillium 120 PA and four STS-2 seismometers, all equipped with an EarthData PR6-24 Logger as recording unit. The velocity response spectrum of the instruments is flat until 60s for the Güralp, and 120s for the Trillium and STS-2. These varying instrument characteristics, as well as the locations of the permanent seismic network operated by the EMC have been taken into consideration in the network design to achieve a homogeneous distribution of long-period data. A formal collaboration between Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel and the Earthquake Monitoring Center in Oman has been established and facilitates data exchange. Prior to the deployment of the temporary network in 2013, the Oman Seismic Network was upgraded to be fully equipped with broadband instruments. Our final data set thus consists of continuous seismic recordings of 50 broadband seismometers covering an area of ca. 500 x 200km and with a station spacing between 20-60 km. The network is densified along a profile across the central part of the ophiolite, to include a high-resolution 2-D profile which will establish a link between locally high-resolution imaging to state-of-the-art 3D tomographic models.

Data availability:

After an embargo period of 4 years, data from the temporary COOL network will be freely available through GEOFON data center at GFZ Potsdam, Germany. See also the FDSN project page. The data are registered under network name '5H' and station names are 'COO01' through 'COO53'.

COOL stationmap

Fig. 1: Tectonic overview map and COOL network in northern Oman. Temporary COOL broadband seismometers are largely CMG-3ESP Compact (yellow triangles), Trillium 120PA (yellow triangles with green dot) and STS-2 (yellow triangles with blue dot). Additional seismometers in the area include permanent broadband sites of the Earthquake Monitoring Center (EMC) in Oman (green triangles) and from the Dubai and UAE seismic networks (orange triangles and dots). Red dots mark seismicity from 2012-2014 as recorded by the EMC and the black solid line roughly outlines the Semail ophiolite. 



  • Wiesenberg, L., Weidle, C., El-Sharkawy, A., Timko, M., Lebedev, S., Meier, T. – Phase Velocity Determination Across the Al-Hajar Mountains in Oman: Automated Analysis of the Phase of Ambient Noise Cross Correlations. In preparation.

  • Weidle, C., Wiesenberg, L., Krüger, F., Scharf, A., Agard, P., El-Sharkawy, A., Meier, T. – A 3-D crustal shear-wave velocity model and Moho map below the Semail Ophiolite, Oman. In preparation.

  • Weidle, C., Wiesenberg, L., Scharf, A., Agard, P., El-Sharkawy, A., Krüger, F., Meier, T. –Architecture of the crust and lithosphere beneath the Semail Ophiolite – insights into the tectonic evolution of eastern Arabia. In preparation.

  • Ninkabou, D., Agard, P., Nielsen, C., Smit, J., Gorini, C., Rodriguez, M., Haq, B., Chamot‐Rooke, N., Weidle, C. & Ducassou, C. – Structure of the offshore obducted Oman margin: emplacement of Semail ophiolite and role of tectonic inheritance. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2021, 126, e2020JB020187. link

  • Scharf, A., Mattern, F., Moraetis, D., Callegari, I. & Weidle, C. – Postobductional Kinematic Evolution and Geomorphology of a Major Regional Structure — The Semail Gap Fault Zone (Oman Mountains). Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2019, 38, 2756-2778. link



  • Wiesenberg, L. – 3D Structural Analysis of the Oman Ophiolite and the Lithosphere of the Eastern Arabian Continental Margin. PhD Thesis, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 2020. link



  • Helen Heinisch (CAU Kiel, 2018): Seismotektonik der östlichen Arabischen Platte und der Golfregion



  • Elisabeth Glück (CAU Kiel, 2019): Seismizität im Omangebirge


Conference abstracts (selection)

  • C. Weidle, L. Wiesenberg, A. Scharf, P. Agard, El-Sharkawy, F. Krüger and T. Meier – Architecture of the crust and lithosphere beneath the Semail Ophiolite from ambient noise tomography and receiver functions: insights on the tectonic evolution of eastern Arabia. EGU21-9890, EGU General Assembly 2021. link

  • C. Weidle, L. Wiesenberg, A. El-Sharkawy, T. Meier, F. Krüger, P. Agard and A. Scharf – A 3-D crustal model of the eastern Arabian plate margin below the Oman Ophiolite. EGU2020-17800, EGU General Assembly 2020. link

  • L. Wiesenberg, C. Weidle, A. El-Sharkawy, T. Meier, F. Krüger, S. Lebedev, I. El-Hussain – Towards a 3-D structural model of the Oman Ophiolite and its underlying continental lithosphere. International Conference on Ophiolites and the Oceanic Lithosphere: Results of the Oman Drilling Project and Related Research, Muscat, Oman, 12-14 Jan 2020.

  • L. Wiesenberg, F. Krueger, C. Weidle and T. M. – Structural Analysis of northern Oman using Receiver functions. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 9-12 December 2019, T21G-0421. link

  • L. Wiesenberg, C. Weidle, A. El-Sharkawy, T. Meier and S. Lebedev – Ambient Noise Tomography across the Oman Ophiolite. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 21, EGU2019-15217, 2019 EGU General Assembly 2019. abstract (pdf)

  • C. Weidle, L. Wiesenberg, T. Meier, P. Schwarz, H. Heinisch, P. Agard, C. Ducassou, I. El-Hussain – COOL project – an unprecedented high quality dataset across the Oman Ophiolite. 10th Gulf Seismic Forum, Muscat, Oman, 19-22 March 2018.

  • L. Wiesenberg, C. Weidle, A. El-Sharkawy, T. Meier – Ambient Noise Tomography Across the Oman Ophiolite. DGG Tagung 2018, Leoben, SO-P-12.

  • L. Wiesenberg, C. Weidle, P. Agard, C. Ducassou, I. El-Hussain, C. Prigent, T. Meier – Ambient noise characteristics and Green’s Functions across the Oman ophiolite. DGG Tagung 2017, Potsdam, SO.A-027.