October 2016 
Water Lab Announcment
(left) ICP-OES, (right) IRMS

StratoChem is proud to announce the installation of a fully-equipped water lab, complete with an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), a spectrophotometer, a pH meter, elemental analyzer isotope IRMS, and a conductivity salinity resistivity TDS meter. These five tools combined enable the analysis of the physical and chemical characteristics of your water, rock, oil, and even soil samples to cover all sanitary, agricultural and commercial applications.

Water solutions include identifying sample provenance, water quality, and characteristics according to chemical composition. Our geochemists understand that water analysis plays a major role in oil and gas production and transportation, industrial plants, and agriculture, and as always, StratoChem is ready to provide innovative answers to your team's most pressing questions. Please contact us to learn more.

Your Friends at StratoChem Services
 

10/20, Denver, U.S.A: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists Core Workshop.
Success for Eni's Zohr 5x in Egypt

Mesopotamia: The Cradle of Civilizations
by Ahmed Hisham & Nihal Mahmoud
 
                       
Around the 1700s BC, the Babylonians wrote the story of their own creation on a series of clay tablets. Inscribed in jagged cuneiform letters invented over a thousand years before, the Enuma Elish describes the forming of the earth, beginning with the marriage of the primeval ocean goddess Tiamat and Apsu, lord of fresh waters. Birthing a series of supernatural beings, the dragon-like Tiamat and her son Kingu are ultimately challenged and killed by Marduk, the king of the Babylonian gods, who joins the earth and heavens with her ribs, and creates humanity from Kingu's blood and the rich clay of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
                           
 
Madruk, the creator god of Babylon.
 
While we may not believe in Tiamat and Marduk anymore, there is a powerful element of truth in the Enuma Elish: the peoples of Mesopotamia, the land that gave rise to the first known evidence of writing, organized religion, and complex societies and remains a regular part of our geopolitical discourse, were intimately connected to the distinctive geology of their region. In this three-part series of articles, we will explore the ways in which the geology of Mesopotamia created the unique geographic features that allowed the brilliance of Mesopotamian peoples full expression-and paved the way for the bloody conflicts that have wracked the region throughout its history.

Part of the Fertile Crescent (an area also including the Levant and Egypt), Mesopotamia was part of a broader global change: the transition from hunter-gatherer tribes and small-scale farmers to larger hierarchical and urban societies. While a few other so-called cradles of civilization arose independently of Mesopotamia, including China's Yellow River Valley, the Indus Valley in India, coastal Peru, and Mexico, Mesopotamia shows by far the earliest examples of large-scale, permanent human settlement-a phenomenon made possible not just by human ingenuity, but the land itself.
 
   
The word "Mesopotamia" is not from a language native to the region, but rather combines two Greek words: meso- ("middle") and potamos ("river")-figuratively, the "Land Between the Rivers," a reference to the Tigris and Euphrates. Flowing from Turkey to the Persian Gulf, these two rivers made possible the agricultural output necessary to sustain early societies. But the features that made Mesopotamia such an attractive place for ancient civilization had their origins many millions of years before humanity even existed.
 
For such a pivotal region, it is difficult to define Mesopotamia's boundaries. From a narrow perspective, it is the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers while from a broader one, it could refer to the area surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains to north, Arabian Desert to west and the Zagros Mountains to east. Situated on the Arabian Plate, the Mesopotamian Basin was part of the super-continent of Gondwanaland during much of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. The first main tectonic event that broadly affected the Arabian Plate was the Hercynian Orogeny, experiencing extensive uplift during the Carboniferous that resulted in the breaking and erosion of most Paleozoic sequences in the area. In the Zagros Foothills, Devonian and Carboniferous rocks are completely missing due to the erosion related to this unconformity.
 
The geological formation of the Mesopotamian Basin (a fluvial basin including the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) occurred during the Palymride folding in the late Permian as the Neo-Tethys Ocean began opened to form the Neo-Tethys Sea. By the Early Triassic, this process was complete.
  
The geological boundaries of Mesopotamia. 
 
By the Middle to Late Triassic, subsidence started to occur in the basin due to expansion of the Tethys Seaway resulting from the movement of blocks in Turkey, Iran and northern and eastern Iraq . By the pre-Late Triassic, the area had become fairly stable, and the facies of the Upper Triassic strata are noticeably different from older beds. Eventually, subsidence within the region slowed down during the Jurassic, allowing for the deposition of evaporites and shallow lagoon carbonates.
 
The Neo-Tethys started to close during the Cretaceous Period, creating a belt of junction from Turkey to Oman. This belt, the Taurus-Zagros, was affected by low-relief folding which extended to the rest of the platform area from Syria to Egypt . From the Late Jurassic to the Cenomanian, all evaporites were well-deposited in the basin.
 
By the end of the Eocene, The collision of the continental segments of the Eurasian margin with the continental Arabian Plate created the Zagros Mountains by subduction of the oceanic Arabian Plate crust under the Eurasian Plate. The junction continues at present.
 
Ancient Mesopotamia. 
Further compressional forces which were present during the Pliocene time resulted in the progradation of huge alluvial fans in the Mesopotamian Basin, creating present-day Iraq. Most of the petroleum that has been discovered in Iraq has been sourced from Jurassic rocks and trapped in Cretaceous and Tertiary reservoirs in the Mesopotamian Basin and Zagros Fold Belt.
                                                                      
The Tigris and Euphrates both originate from the Taurus Mountains in Eastern Turkey. Beginning 30 kilometers apart, they flow separately into flat, wide, and hot floodplains. As the rivers enter northern Syria and Iraq, they cut through deep bedrocks, then deviate to more than 100 kilometers apart until joining again and discharging together into the Persian Gulf. This merging of the rivers creates the Thartar Valley, a deltaic area filled with smaller lakes and swamps collectively known as Shatt Al-Arab, a region stretching 180 kilometers that creates the united delta of the Euphrates and Tigris basins, where the rivers descend from elevations of about 400 meters above sea level to enter the alluvial plain known as Mesopotamia.
 

Originally built by the Akkadians around 2300 BC, Babylon was positioned on the plains between the two rivers and expanded further to the west of the Euphrates in order to control flooding. The first code of laws ever recorded appeared during the reign of Babylonian king Hammurabi. The Code of Hammurabi, created in 1780 BC, addressed issues of marriage, financial transactions, contracts, and the liabilities. First discovered in 1901, Hammurabi's "eye for an eye" approach to justice seems harsh to us today, but reflected the uncertain world of the ancient Near East.

                                     
 
This key location became the foundation upon which all future Mesopotamian civilization was built, a cosmopolitan region that drew Arabs, Greeks, Somalis, Indians, Persians, Turks, and Chinese merchants to gather, exchange knowledge, and trade. In the next Kobry, we will explore the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia from Sumeria to the rise of Islam, and the ways in which this distinctive geological foundation contributed to the rise of some of the first complex societies on the planet.
 

Photos are taken from Wikipidea
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