More than 1,700 fossil dunes in nation's first protected area


Over 1,700 fossil dunes spread over seven kilometres have been inaugurated into the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Protected Area - a first of its kind for the UAE and one of the first in Asia.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, opened the site located 45 km to the east of the capital and took a tour of the main visitor centre, viewing areas and trails.

Fossil dunes are outcrops of lightly cemented, cross-bedded dune sands, formed by the deposits of calcium carbonate and other salts from ground water during the glacial period. The formations in Al Wathba area derive their shape from the interaction between wind force and sediment supply.

Sheikh Hamdan said, "The inauguration of the Fossil Dunes Protected Area comes with the aim of protecting the natural heritage of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and encouraging eco-tourism."

The area's nominated to be listed in UNESCO's Global List of Geoparks with specialists estimating the fossil dune formations date back to the Ice Age from around 120,000 years ago.

Visitors can head there from February 5 with special music and light shows on offer at the park's amphitheatre. 

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