​​Overview
 
The Center for Marine Geology is the country’s focal point for marine geology, and represents an unparalleled asset in coastal and marine research and development in the eastern Red Sea and the western Arabian Gulf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Center was created in 2009 at the Saudi Geological Survey in Jeddah. It owns a research boat and is home to some 12 researchers and support staff in the newly established marine geological laboratory. The activities at the Center are concentrated on both sediment and water related research, including coral reefs. In addition to its many research themes the Center plays an important role in addressing local environmental issues. It focuses on areas of rapidly emerging scientific and community needs, and provides environmental assessment advisory and consultancy services to both governmental and private organizations. In addition, the Center collaborates with various international and domestic research institutes and organizations to carry out research activities in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.
 
Objectives
 
• To map the seabed, define sediment types including coral  reefs, prepare bathymetric charts and maps of islands and coastal plains, study sea level changes and coastal erosion, as well as anthropogenic input, including pollution and waste disposal, and their impact along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf for use by geological and environmental managers.
• To increase public awareness and impart training on the preservation of the coastal and marine environment and provide advice, expertise, training and re-commendations.
• The Center has plans for "Innovation and Development in Research" that will involve developing a new "Learning and Research Strategy" in marine science in the Kingdom.
• The Center plans to establish a digital database (accessible via the GIS).
 
In order to achieve the objectives the coastal and marine sediments are identified for the sedimentary environment (sediment characteristics and provenance) that helps in the construction of seabed type maps and construction of predictive sediment transport models (dispersal mode, pattern and pathways). The mineralogical make-up of the seabed is also determined to explore for possible mineral wealth, especially the black sand common in the southeastern part of the Red Sea.
 
Hydrographic surveys are carried out to identify contaminant sources and establish dispersion pathways and patterns. The causes, impact and effects of pollution on the coastal and marine milieux vulnerable to environmental stress including the coral reefs, their health and distribution are also studied.
 
The wet-dry laboratory facility at the Center for Marine Geology is equipped with different types of equipment to analyze sediment and water samples. A Micromeritics Sedigraph III 5120 is used for fine-grained (silt + clay) particle size analysis and is further complimented by classical sieve analysis for coarse-grained (sand) material. A Leitz-Leica stereo microscope with a mounted camera is utilized for studying the grain morphology. A spectrophotometer to analyze the nutrient content in water is used to study the water quality. A TOC/TIC analyzer for measuring the total organic/inorganic carbon content in sediment and water is also used for environmental assessment studies. A calcimeter with an auto-analyzer is used at the Center for determining carbonate content in the sediments, and clay mineralogical studies are carried out by the Center in which the samples are analyzed by XRD at the SGS Petrology-Mineralogy Laboratory. An archive to store sediment and water for reference purposes is part of the Center's laboratory. Additional sea-going and laboratory equipment is also available at the Center's facilities.
 
Services and Clientele
 
Technical expertise, advice and services in all aspects of marine science are provided by the Center to local agencies, including academia, as well as the governmental and private sectors, and the Center also collaborates with international organizations and universities. Numerous MoUs and technical agreements with various international and domestic organizations have been signed since the formation of the Marine Center.
 
Technical Reports

A series of technical reports on various aspects of marine science that cover the coastal areas of the Saudi Arabian side of the Red Sea have been prepared at the Center and published by the SGS publication unit.
 
Projects
1) Geological and oceanographical studies in the waters of Rabigh and Masturah regions.

2) Bathymetric survey and ground-truthing of the al-Kharrar lagoon, Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

3) Sedimentological and geochemical properties and the application of satellite images in the two Shoaiba lagoons and the associated sabkhas, Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

4) A multi-parameter approach to near shore seabed mapping of the Al-Leith area.

5) Bathymetric survey at Sharm Obhur.

6) The status of the coastal waters of Jeddah and its environs: A hydrographic survey to monitor the water quality.

7) An investigative survey along the coastal zones of Jeddah for assessing the health of coral reefs.

8) Bathymetric survey of the Shiab Al-Kabeer coral patch.
Early signs of pollution are detected in order to educate people and implement means of controlling pollution. Echo-sounding is carried out in order to produce bathymetric maps for seabed configuration.
Equipment
For field work the research boat of the Saudi Geological survey, RB Coastal Surveyor, is used.  This boat is 10 m long and is powered by 2 environmentally friendly outboard motors of 100 hp. capacity each.  A high-powered winch for sediment and water collection is fitted at the bow of the boat. Peterson, Ponar, Ekman and other grab samplers are employed for sediment sampling. Niskin bottles of different capacities and Van Dorn samplers are used for water collection from different environments. Hull and side-mounted echo-sounders with multiple and dual frequencies supplemented with continuous reading and data printing facilities for both shallow and deep water measurements are fitted to the boat. An Aanderaa RCM-9 current meter fitted with turbidity, conductivity, temperature and depth/pressure sensors is also owned by the Center and is used at sites of interest.
 
SCUBA diving gear is used for coral studies by well-trained divers. Information on the corals is captured on underwater video camera and details are recorded on a specially designed data collection sheet. Interpretation of satellite images is also carried out in-house. Numerous computer software packages for data analysis and interpretation related to sediments, water, satellite images and map compilations are available at the Center.
 
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A SCUBA diver deploying the Aanderaa RCM-9 current meter in order to study the current pattern and its influence on the sediment movement
in the Red Sea.



A group of marine scientists busy gathering information aboard the RB Coastal
Surveyor in the Red Sea.
 




 
 
 
 
Surficial sediment sample being
defined onboard before the laboratory analysis.​
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Preparations being made to study the corals in the Red Sea.