Jabal Al-Qarah in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia is a flat-topped residual hill (mesa) built of calcareous sandstones, mudstones, and marls of Miocene age. It is located within the World Heritage property of Al-Ahsa Oasis, but geoheritage values were not considered in the nomination and remained overlooked. The locality is famous for its systems of maze caves developed along deep fractures by mainly mechanical erosion and wall/roof collapses. They illustrate the origin of non-karstic caves through the action of underground flows, redirected from the surface via sinkholes and open cracks. Hillsides of Jabal Al-Qarah show evidence of various types of mass movements, including spectacular collapses of harder overlying strata after denudation of weaker strata beneath caused loss of vertical support. Thus, the mesa may become a key locality to understand slope development in layered successions and the role of subsurface flows in the global context. The site also has considerable potential to develop geotourism, as an added value to the already recognized cultural assets of the oasis and scenic qualities.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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- Mass movements
- Non-karstic caves
- Sedimentary tablelands
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)