Trip to Jordan, November 2009

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5-frame partial panorama of the Waqf as Suwwan impact structure (5.5km diameter) in eastern Jordan. Towards the left is the 1-km wide central uplift (the area has eroded down some hundreds of meters since the impact) and the hills defining the former rim are seen at the right. Some wadis are seen at left - these drainages are prominent in remote sensing images of the structure. Note the essentially total lack of vegetation. It's my new favourite terrestrial impact structure - well-exposed, big enough to be complex, but small enough to be taken in at ground level.

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Driving across the Jordanian desert, some of it of this rather nasty chert, it was inevitable that at least one of our nine vehicles would get a flat, which it did.

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Zibi in front of some upturned beds at the crater rim, next to a chert concretion

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Driving to the central uplift. Note the desert pavement.

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Thomas Kenkmann shows off a shatter cone

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Upturned beds in the central uplift

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Wadi Rum (home to Lawrence of Arabia's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is spectacular - rather like Canyonlands National Park in the USA, but with more red sand.

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The Planetary Connection - Blueberries in the sandstone. These concretions, and a few pebbles that were also present, show this to be alluvial rather than aeolian sediment

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Zibi on a natural arch

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Beautiful

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We spent a night in Bedouin tents, with spectacularly clear and dark skies. A ship of the desert here sets the scene

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Tolerable view from our hotel room in Petra

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Zibi and me in front of the famous 'Treasury', about 40m high, carved into the side of the gorge about 2000 years ago. Petra is justifiably one of hte Seven Wonders of the World

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Never mind the architecture - look at the crossbedding!

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After a hike up some 800 steps, there is an even more impressive facade, 'The Monastery'

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Crusader caster at Shobak

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Looking across the Dead Sea to the West Bank. Note the bathtub ring suggesting the water level has fallen. My wristwatch altimeter reads -380m. There were languid ripples on the sea - I measured winds at 1-2 m/s

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Density of the Dead Sea is 1300 kg/m3 - even someone as dense as me can float!