Sabkha Workshop
- Abu Dhabi

Sunday 14th March 2004

The Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS), in collaboration with the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), is pleased to announce that on Sunday 14th March 2004 there will be a half day workshop on The Abu Dhabi Sabkha.

The Seminar will be held in the 3rd Floor Seminar Room in the ERWDA HQ building, Abu Dhabi.

Time: 10.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m.

We are extremely fortunate to have two distinguished speakers who are the world experts on the Abu Dhabi sabkha:

Professor Graham Evans

Graham Evans is an Honorary Professor of Sedimentology at the Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton; Emeritus Reader in Sedimentology, University of London; and Honorary Associate Professor of Sedimentology, University of Nanjing, China. Graham received a BSc in Geology from Bristol University in 1956 and obtained his PhD in 1960 at Imperial College, London. He has taught and supervised many research students and has been involved in sedimentological research in the Arabian Gulf, Northwest Europe, Spain, Turkey and India. While at Imperial College Graham began studies in the Arabian Gulf. He was Associate Professor and UNESCO consultant at the Marine Institute of METU, Ankara, Turkey from 1978 to 1979, and visiting Professor with the Universidad Complutense Madrid and University of Vigo, Spain between 1991 and 1992. Although Graham now lives in Jersey he continues to work in the United Arab Emirates, Spain and Turkey on sedimentological/archaeological problems.

Dr Anthony (Tony) Kirkham

email: and

Tony Kirkham was employed by BP Exploration for 20 years as a Sedimentologist and Senior Development Geologist. He mostly worked within reservoir engineering teams on international development projects and had long-term assignments in Norway, Egypt and Turkey. From 1994 to early 1997, Anthony worked as a Geological Specialist with Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO). He then became a Senior Technical Consultant with Landmark Graphics in Abu Dhabi, followed by Manager of Reservoir Characterization, Research and Consulting, Inc. (RC)2 with responsibility for Europe, Middle East and Africa. In late 2001 Tony joined Technoguide as Manager of Consulting Services. He received his BSc. from Aberystwyth University in 1970. MSc from Imperial College, London in 1972 and PhD from Bristol University in 1977. Sedimentology, reservoir characterisation and 3-D reservoir modeling are his particular areas of interest. Tony is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Geo Arabia.

Selected Publications of Evans and Kirkham

Evans, G. (1970). "Coastal and nearshore sedimentation: a comparison of clastic and carbonate deposition". Proceedings of the Geologists Asociation 81: 493-508.

Evans, G. (1995). "The Arabian Gulf: a modern carbonate-evaporite factory; a review". Cuadernaos de Geologia Iberica 19: 61-96.

Evans, G. and Bush, P.R. (1969). "Some oceanographical and sedimentological observations on a Persian Gulf lagoon. Lugunas Costeras, Un Simposio. Memorias de Simposio Internacional, Laagunas Costeras, UNAM-UNESCO, 1967, Mexico, D.F., 155-170.

Evans, G., Kinsman, D. J. J. et al. (1964). "A reconaissance survey of the recent carbonate sedimentation along the Trucial Coast, Persian Gulf". In: L. M. J. U. Van Straaten (ed.), Developments in Sedimentology, vol.1 - Deltaic and shallow marine deposits. 1: 129-135.

Evans, G., Kirkham, A. and Carter, R.A. (2002). "Quaternary Development of the United Arab Emirates Coast: New Evidence from Marawah Island". GeoArabia 7(3): 441-458.

Evans, G., Murray J.W., Biggs, H.E., Bate, R. and Bush, P. (1973). "The oceanography, ecology, sedimentology and geomorphology of parts of the Trucial Coast barrier island complex, Persian Gulf". In: Purser, B.H. (ed), The Persian Gulf, Holocene Carbonate Sedimentation in a Shallow Epicontinental Sea. Springer, New York, 233-278.

Evans, G., Kendall, C. G. S. C. et al. (1964). "Origin of Coastal Flats, The Sabkha, of the Trucial Coast, Persian Gulf." Nature 202: 759-761.

Evans, G., Schmidt, V., Bush, P. and Nelson, H. (1969). "Stratigraphy and Geologic History of the Sabkha, Abu Dhabi, Persian Gulf." Sedimentology 12: 145-159.

Kirkham, A. (1997). "Shoreline evolution, aeolian deflation and anhydrite distribution of the Holocene, Abu Dhabi." GeoArabia 2(4): 403-416.

Kirkham, A. (1998). "Pleistocene carbonate seif dunes and their role in the development of complex past and present coastlines of the UAE". GeoArabia 3: 19-32.

Kirkham, A. (1998). "A Quaternary proximal foreland ramp and its continental fringe, Arabian Gulf, UAE". In: Wright, V.P. and Burchette T.P./ (eds.) Carbonate Ramps. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 149, 15-41.

Other useful reading:

Purser, B. H., Ed. (1973). The Persian Gulf: Holocene Carbonate Sedimentation and Diagenesis in a Shallow Epicontinental Sea. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Springer Verlag.

West, I. (1997). Sabkhas (Salt Flats) Field Trip - West's Geology Field Trips
Dr. Ian West, Geology Department, University of Southampton, U.K.

H-J. Barth and B. Böer (eds.), (2002), Sabkha Ecosystems - Volume I: The Arabian Peninsula and Adjacent Countries. Tasks for Vegetation Sciences Vol 36. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. ISBN 1-4020-0504-0. More details at:


Research on sabkha ecology commenced only a few decades ago and sabkhat were considered as wasteland. It is only now, that environmental managers realize that sabkhat are ecosystems with a research, development, and conservation value. This multidisciplinary volume is a first comprehensive documentation of sabkha research in the Arabian peninsula region, including contributions from 16 countries. Topics covered include aspects of geology, hydrology, geomorphology, zoology, botany, ecology, ecosystem analysis, past, present, and future land use methods and development, and nature conservation at the landscape level.

Outline of the book:

List of authors.

Part I: Distribution of sabkhat within the Arabian Peninsula and the adjacent countries;

The Abu Dhabi Sabkha; G. Evans, A. Kirkham. The Holocene tidal flat complex of the Arabian Gulf coast of Abu Dhabi;
C.G.St.C. Kendall, et al. The sabkhat of Saudi Arabia – an introduction;
H.-J. Barth. Plant communities bordering the sabkhat of Bahrain Island;
J.A. Abbas. The coastal and sabkha flora of Qatar: An introduction;
B. Böer, S. Al Hajiri. Sabkhat and halophytes in Kuwait;
S.A.S. Omar, et al. An overview of an inland sabkha in Jordan: The Taba Sabkha, southern Wadi Araba;
A.M. Abed. The sabkha vegetation of Oman;
S. Ghazanfar. Salt deserts in Iran and Afghanistan;
S.W. Breckle. Salt tolerant plants of coastal sabkhat of Pakistan;
M.A. Khan, B. Gul. The coastal sabhat of Yemen;
A.N. Al-Gifri, S.A. Gabali. Sabkhat and halophytes in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan);
B. Böer, et al. Short communication:
A.G. Fahmy, B. Böer, Flora and phytogeographical aspect of the Red Sea sabkhat in Egypt;

Part II: Sabkha ecology. Introduction.
W.W. Wood, W.E. Sanford, Hydrogeology and solute chemistry of the coastal-sabkha aquifer in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi;
A.R.S. Alsharan, C.G.St.C. Kendall, Holocene carbonate-evaporites of Abu Dhabi, and their Jurassic ancient analogs;
H. Lieth, U. Menzel, Sabkhat in coastal areas with special emphasis on the UAE;
H.J. Barth, Dynamics of sabkha edges: Examples from the Jubail area, Saudi Arabia;
J. Belnap, Biological soil crusts of Arabian sabkhat;
D.M. John, Macroalgae associated with sabkha;
F.E. Round, Diatoms of the sabkha;
R.A. Loughland, P.L. Cunningham, Vertebrate fauna of sabkhat from the Arabian Peninsula: A review of Mammalia, Reptilia and Amphibia;
P.J. Hogarth, B.J. Tigar, Ecology of sabkha arthropods;
U. Zajonz, M. Beech and A. Gill, Fishes of sabkha related habitats;
Short communications:
R.C. Philips, A short review on seagrasses of the Arabian Peninsula region with particular reference to mineralisation in sabkhat;
B. Böer, The coastal and sabkha flora of the United Arab Emirates;
S. Aspinall, Birds in sabkha environments;
A. Al-Farraj, Sabkha and coastal plain development and evolution on the northeastern coast of the UAE;

Part III: Sabkha land use and development: Introduction.
P. Hellyer, The archaeology of the sabkhat of Abu Dhabi;
S. Aspinall, P. Hellyer, Saline wetland reserve management: A case study from the United Arab Emirates;
A.G. de Soyza, et al., Sustainable development of mangroves for coastal sabkhat environments in Abu Dhabi, UAE;
M. Clüsener-Godt, UNESCO's work for the protection of arid zones with particular emphasis to sabkhat;