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Abstract

The Oman Mountains contain a number of unique and very special geological sites of World Heritage importance. Large-scale developments in Oman and UAE have already affected some of these sites and it is now crucial to preserve these sites for posterity in law before urban development destroys them forever. This paper outlines the geological importance of 50 sites as National GeoParks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Three geological sites in Oman are so unique and so special that they warrant World Heritage status: the Semail Ophiolite, the world's largest, best exposed and most complete ophiolite; Jebel al-Akhdar; and the Musandam peninsula. Other world-class sites include the Sifah eclogites, the Oman Exotics, Majlis al-Jinn, sites of ‘Snowball Earth’ significance and many others. All these sites are of World Heritage quality and fundamental geological importance, not only for Oman but also for the world. The total acreage of all these GeoPark sites is <10% of Oman and the areas designated have little or no commercial value. The GeoParks will have long-lasting economic benefits as the post-oil and gas economy of Oman will have to rely on tourism and geo-tourism.

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