morocco geology holiday




High Atlas Mountains, Morocco


Crossing the High Atlas Mountains 

 

Precambrian stomatolites, Morocco


Precambrian stromatolites 

 

Orthoceras, Morocco


Orthoceras Quarry 

 

Trilobite, Morocco


Trilobites in Ordovician sediments 

 

Goniatites, Morocco


Pyrotised Devonian goniatites 

 

The Draa Valley


Ordovician sediments rich in trilobites in the Draa Valley. 

 


Large yellow Cambrian trilobite 

 

ammonite fossil


Alnif, Capital of the Trilobite Kingdom

 

Kem Kem, Dinosaur beds, Morocco


Kem Kem Dinosaur beds

 


Typical Desert Transport


10 day geo-adventure from Marrakesh


Saturday 11 - Tuesday 21 October  2014

£1250

 

featuring fossils, geology and culture 


This is a possible itinerary, the final itinerary may be slightly different because there are so many different sites that it is possible to visit, but be rest assured this is a real trip visiting the very best field sites and is not simply a tour of gift shops and museums.


Journey by 4 X 4 across the Atlas mountains to the Sahara desert in eastern Morocco where the rocks are full of minerals and fossils


 


1st day: Our journey starts in the historic city of Marrakesh which is a World Heritage Site and has excellent low cost airline links to Europe. Today we have a long way to travel and must cross the High Atlas mountains to reach the diverse geology of the eastern part of Morocco. Our journey is broken at the  Sidi Rahal mine which is rich in quartz chalcedonies, amethyst, and agate. We have the opportunity to learn how these minerals were formed and to find pieces for ourselves  We will also have a picnic lunch with the miners and can learn about their lives. In the afternoon the road just climbs and climbs until we reach the Col du Tichka at 2260 m. Even though Morocco is a hot country this pass can sometimes get blocked with snow in the winter. The road then descends through beautiful valleys and wonderfully folded rocks to reach the town of Ouarzazate, where we spend our first night. Ouarzazate is a very pleasant town and is famous for its film studios which have hosted films like 'The Mummy' and'Fly fishing in the Yemen'. Our accommodation in Ouarzazate is a three star hotel.

 

2nd day:  This morning we start our day by heading down the Draa Valley. This beautiful valley contains an oasis at is base which is full of date palms and is flanked by valley walls made up of Ordovician sedimentary rocks that are full of trilobites. Near to Zagora we stop at BenZoli where it is possible to see pieces of very large Ordovician trilobites. After a good look at the site we will have a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree before a beautiful drive to a place called Serradrar. This is a site of exceptional preservation of Orthoceras. Orthoceras was a marine gastropod. Today the slabs of rock containing Orthoceras are quarried and are produced into table tops and basins that are seen in virtually ever hotel in Morocco. We will visit one of these quarries and see the amazing site of the Orthoceras in situ in the rocks for ourselves. The next stop is the  small town of Alnif which prides itself as being the 'Trilobite Capital of the World'. The town has several fossil shops and museums and we will spend the night here in a small hotel.

 

3rd day: This morning's site is near to the town of Alnif and is in Cambrian sedimentary rocks. Here it is possible to see huge yellowish trilobites. After a morning of discovering the fossils we will have our picnic in a nearby oasis. In the afternoon we visit an Ordovician site calledJbel Tiskaouine which is rich in calymenes andflexycalymenes .  We spent this night in the same hotel in Alnif.

 

4th day: Today we visit Isoumour which is famously known as the 'trilobites lost paradise'. Here nearly all the species of Devonian trilobites can be found including rolled  phacops. After our picnic lunch we head onto another  Devonian site called Atchana which is a flat rather than a hillside again many trilobites are to be seen here. We then proceed to a place called Lakrabis where it is possible to find red ammonites. After this site we journey yet further south to spend the night in a remote desert Oasis called Mharch.

 

5th day: Today we travel across the desert towards the small town of Mecessi to visit a site called Lalla Mimouna, where it is again possible to  find Devonian trilobites. We will then drive to nearby Jbel Mdawar where we can see Devonian goniatites and have our lunchtime picnic. After lunch we head to Merzouga and the famous sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. Here we really feel we are in the Sahara Desert which we are. It is possible to ride a camel and we spend our night here in a comfortable hotel.

 

6th day: Today we drive south through the sand dunes to the frontier town of Taouz. From there we head to the famous Kemkem site which is rich in fish, crocodiles and dinosaurs. Many teeth and bones of  Spinosaurus have been found here as have the  larger teeth of the Tyrannosaurus like dinosaur Carcharodonosaurus. The deposits were lain down in by a river in the late Cretaceous. We then relocate to another site on the Ordovician and Silurian boundary where echinoids and crinoids can be seen. Our picnic is at the site of an old lead mine named filon, where it is possible to see many special mineral specimens including vanadinites, quartz and goethite. This is followed by a visit to another lead mine named Mifis. The night is spent at the same hotel in Merzouga, which is an excellent place to observe the stars.

 

7th day: Today we visit a site north of Merzouga called Azourz where  black Devonian pyritised goniatites can be seen. This is followed by another trilobite locality named Tisket. We then visit an active Barythe mine, and picnic at a sacred Oasis. The afternoon is spent at a locality where desert roses made of gypsum can be found along with small bits of vertebrates bones. The night is spent back in the same hotel  in Merzouga.

 

8th day: Today we journey from Erfoud back to Ouarzazate, stopping at Todgha and Dades gorges.

 

9th day: Today we drive back to Marrakesh, arriving at lunch time leaving a free afternoon for shopping in the World Heritage Site souk.

 

10th day: Transfer to the airport. Depending on your departure time.



 


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