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Characteristic Features of the Proposed Jabal Sanam Geopark Southern Iraq

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Jabal Sanam (hump mountain) is an isolated and elevated salt dome structure in the far southern part of Iraq. It is located 45 km south of Basrah City and approximately 7 km southwest of Safwan City at the Iraq–Kuwait border. This structure is a distinctive topographic phenomenon with a hill height of approximately 95 m (150 m) above sea level, and is the only high relief in the region. Although Jabal Sanam is a relatively small rise, its designation came from the local population as a high installation resembling a camel’s hump. It is one of dozens of similar structures in southwestern Iran and the Arabian Gulf region. Most of the rocks of Jabal Sanam date back to pre-Cambrian times (more than 580 million years ago), making them the oldest outcropped geological rocks units in Iraq and one of the oldest rock outcrops in the world. Thus, it is gaining regional and global importance because it is the only outcrops of pre-Cambrian rocks in the northeastern area of the Arabian Plate. The great rock diversity and the presence of different types of rocks and minerals, especially igneous rocks, in this structure make it an exciting place for people to visit and researchers to obtain valuable information about the history of the Earth. Despite the small size of this geological structure, its wide environment diversity is characterized by plain with desert and mountain environments, with all its natural features, such as valleys, caves, sand dunes, hills, mountain slopes, and rocky monuments. The large diversity of life, where multiple species of plant and animal life, such as wolves, rabbits, hawks, and desert reptiles are the result of what the mountain provides for a safe haven for these animals. This condition makes this area fertile and suitable for scientists and researchers in biology, environment, and nature. This study is based on the detailed notes of several field visits for several years to the region to field audit and reviewing many studies about this structure. All these points above make this geological structure a distinct location for its selection as a distinct geological reserve or geopark.

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At the end of this study, I would like to thank the presidency of Geology Department/Science College at Basrah University for assisting me in conducting field surveys of the study area, and my colleagues in the same department for their help in completing this study, especially Professor Dr. Badr N. Al-Badran, I offer a grateful thanks for his valuable comments and guidance.

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Correspondence to Basim Hameed Soltan.

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Soltan, B.H. Characteristic Features of the Proposed Jabal Sanam Geopark Southern Iraq. Geoheritage 13, 77 (2021).

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