In 1971 Dubai was one of seven Trucial State sheikhdoms which formed a loose federation, now known as the United Arab Emirates.

A decade ago Dubai was relatively unknown; today however, with a modern international airport and a 15-berth deep water harbour, it has now become a thriving township and the entrepot capital for the whole of the Gulf Area. Indeed, when the current harbour works are complete, Dubai will have one deep water berth for each 1000 of the indigenous population.

The main harbour developments have been two-fold. Currently a 22-berth harbour extension is being completed, and work on a 74-berth harbour at Jebel Ali has recently begun. In late 1976 however, the main interest centred on the de-watering of the dry dock scheme, the largest dry dock being 525 m × 100 m.

Geology of the area

The stratigraphy within this region of the UAE coast comprises recent carbonate sands, lying upon carbonate sandstone, which in turn overlies interlayered deposits derived from the mountains. Fig. 1 is a schematic section of the regional geology.

Although there are local variations, the general succession encountered during the harbour/dock works in Dubai has been:

On the seabed adjacent to the shore there is a layer of cemented sand, shells and coral up to 1.5 m thick; this bank forms a harder crust layer, a caprock or duricrust, a common phenomena in the Gulf. Generally this hardened layer occurs at the rock surface, but also it can be found in an intermediate

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