Muscat: Researchers from Germany have found evidence of a land uplift along the Omani coast , probably result of a tsunami that may have occurred in the 20th century or earlier.

"Along the coast we discovered isolated rocks of more than 20 tons that have been moved by sea waves. We are sure that these blocks were not moved by hurricanes that affected the coastlines in the past years, therefore we expect that they are of tsunamigenic origin," said Professor Klaus Reicherter, Department of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

During their 10-day fieldwork in February the researchers from German University of Oman (GUtech) and RWTH Aachen University were scanning the Al Hajar Ash Sharqi Mountains between Quriyat and Sur with LiDAR (Light detection and ranging instrument).

"With the help of this instrument, we would like to reveal the evolution of the coastline and the mountains. In Fins the long-term evolution is documented by coastal rock terraces or raised beaches," said Professor Goesta Hoffmann, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.

These beaches were formed thousands of years ago and lifted to more than one hundred metres above the present sea level. These raised beaches form rock terraces that are easily recognisable from the highway between Sur and Quriyat.

"They resemble a giant staircase. In some terraces made of limestone, shells and sand deposits indicate the former marine environment in which they were formed thousands of years ago. The group of researchers also found different sea shells on top of the terraces, around two kilometres away from the sea and 100 metres above the sea level.

"The three-dimensional models showcase the fine details of the surface of the rock terraces," explained Dr Hoffmann.

Results of the research showing a three-dimensional computer model with accuracy of five millimetres are expected by the end of the year.

"The final results of our research can be used to mitigate potential damages of future tsunamis in this region. Knowledge of the long-term evolution of the coastline is essential in the context of global warming and associated sea-level changes," said Dr Hoffmann. According to scientists, the global sea level may rise up to one metre in the next one hundred years.