MAC is focusing on the investigation of the lateral and spatial facies distribution, and its environmental control mechanisms in modern and ancient shallow as well as deep water carbonate systems.Our research combines data gathered during onshore and offshore expeditions. In order to improve the understanding of lateral facies distribution we are using a wide range of data, such as marine surface sediment samples, soft sediment and hardrock cores, outcrop analysis, bathymetry and subbuttom profile data, satellite images and high resolution drone based photogrammetry.

Outcome of our research will be used to develop novel facies templates for subsurface reservoir modelling. Furthermore, with the aim to establish the future diagenetic potential of the sediments their geochemical composition will be analyzed to derive information on the distribution of mineralogy and geochemical composition (trace elements and isotopic composition). Besides applied research we are also tackling fundamental research topics in the Red Sea, such as the paleoclimate and -oceanography, and controlling mechanisms on carbonate platform architecture.

Project: Al-Wajh Carbonate Platform


First Field Trip in 2021 after Covid19 lookdown - Al Wajh carbonate platform

Jan 2021 MAC_1

February 2020 - Scouting Trip - Holocene to Pleistocene Gravel terraces of coastal Al Wajh area.

Scouting Trip 2020

November 2019 - Research Cruise: Al Wajh IV - Slope Morphology and Sediment processes of northern Al Wajh Slope (RV Thuwal).

Nov 2019_1[1]
June 2019 - Research Cruise: Al Wajh III - Morphology of Al Wajh deep sea basins.

April 2019 - Research Cruise: Al Wajh II - Slope Morphology and Sediment processes of southern Al Wajh Slope (RV Thuwal).


March 2019 - Research Cruise: Al Wajh I (RV Explorer) - Surface sediment distribution and Late Pleistocene architecture of Al Wajh lagoon.

February 2019 -  Scouting Trip to Oman - Modern and Cretaceous carbonates.

December 2019 - Scouting Trip - Miocene to Holocene carbonates of N Red Sea.


December 2019 With the last cruise completed on 10. Nov, MAC as part of CarResS Geology Group of Prof. Volker Vahrenkamp can look back to a successful year 2019 of offshore research activities in the northern Red Sea. Under the lead of Dr. Alexander Petrovic, the target of three research cruises between March and November 2019 was the Al Wajh carbonate platform. Al Wajh represents the largest land-attached carbonate platform in the Red Sea and is located north of the city Umluj. The two main objectives were to investigate the platform interior including the modern surface sediment distribution, and the downslope transport processes from the platform top towards surrounding small sediment basins. Dr. Alexander Petrovic and his team (Inda Putri, Nur Lyiana Yahaya, Rangelys J. Sorrentino and Manuel Ariza Fuentes) collected during the three cruises (in total 44 days on sea) more than 250 surface sediment samples and measured around 800 km sub-bottom profiling data in the platform interior. Moreover they mapped via a Kongsberg multibeam system an area of around 3,700 km² on the Al Wajh slope and collected more than 100 m gravity cores. CarResS Geology Group thanks Cmor, especially Francis L. Mallon, Brian C. Hession and Rodrigo P. J. Kumara for their technical support, Ramzi S. Aljahdali and Gazi Aljahdali. We also thank captain Yuri Brovka of RV Thwual and his crew, as well as captain Abdullah A. Aljahdali of RV Explorer and his crew. Special thanks goes to ship’s cook Aneez M. Usoof how took care of all crew members and scientists with his fabulous cooking skills and welfare during all three cruises.


Sam Purkis (University Miami, United States)

Johann Engelbrecht (Desert Institute of Nevada, United States)

Hildegard Westphal (ZMT, Germany)

Christian Betzler and Thomas Luedmann (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Karl-Heinz Baumann (University of Bremen, Germany)

Mohammed H. Aljahdali (King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia)

John Reijmer (KFUPM, Saudi Arabia)

KAUST Collaborations:

Francesca Benzoni (KAUST)

Ibrahim Hoteit (KAUST)

Georgiy Stenchikov (KAUST)

Team Members

Research Scientist

Alexander Petrovic

Research Scientist

Research Interests: Sequence Stratigraphy, Marine Geology, Modern and fossil carbonates, Reservoir architectures, Analogue studies

PhD Students

Francesca Giovenzana

PhD Student

Research Interests: Modern and fossil foraminifera, Paleoecology, Micropaleontology, Carbonate sedimentology, Geochemistry

Manuel Eduardo Ariza Fuentes

PhD Student

Research Interests: Astrogeology, Mass extinctions, Carbonate sedimentology, Paleoclimate

Indah Putri

PhD Student

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Reservoir Modelling and Heterogenity, Carbonate Geology, Sequence Stratigraphy

VSRP Students

Tojo Chirakal

VSRP student

Research Interests: Carbonate Reservoirs, Geothermal Energy, Sequence Stratigraphy, Marine Geology, Facies Analysis, Quaternary Geology

Dominik Patrick Nommensen

VSRP student

Research Interests: Marine Geology, Modern & Ancient Carbonates, Paleoclimate, (Micro-)paleontology, Seafloor mapping