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The Colorful World of Geology

Reading time: 3 min

Geology is a scientific discipline which investigates the structures, composition and substance of the Earth’s crust. Geologists frequently deal with the current physical characteristics, composition, and most importantly the past formational story of the rock. May sound boring, but we assure you: It isn’t! The world of geology and the history of the earth have many colorful sides, and OMV geologists capture many of those features on film.

If you cut the Earth in half, you could see see the internal composition, namely the inner core in the center which is surrounded by an outer core, then the mantle, and finally the thin solid crust which floats on the outside where we live. It took billions of years of various processes to achieve the current form, and this process is far from complete. Through the impact of volcanoes, earthquakes, and even rain, the Earth’s crust is continuously changing and renewing itself every single day, all around the world.

Astrid Metz Geologist at OMV Exploration & Production GmbH
In places where chemical elements, such as iron or sulfur, come loose from existing rock or have replaced other elements, the rock changes color. In an interplay with erosion, this can result in intense color variations that you would never expect in nature. 
Astrid Metz, Geologist at OMV Exploration & Production GmbH

About Colors and Shapes

Rocks are composed of various types of minerals, and different types of chemical and physical reactions can lead to different types of minerals. These minerals can have many different compositions, physical characteristics, and colors. The colors alone can tell a very interesting story. For example, red rocks can be formed during very dry periods or in dry regions which can imply a desert. Yellow is indicative of sulfur and can point toward a volcanic origin. The formation of these minerals and rocks and their associated colors are only the beginning of the story. The impact of water, wind, and ice sometimes can erode rocks into very bizarre shapes.

Our geologists love rocks


Geology plays a pivotal role in the search for and production of crude oil and natural gas, and because oil and gas accumulations are not constrained to one part of the world, OMV geologists work in many different areas. Geologists analyze the available seismic data to investigate where oil and gas reservoirs could be present and then plan wells to tap into these reservoirs. After the well is drilled, they use the information from the well itself to evaluate and characterize the oil and gas reservoirs.

In their daily work, our geologists work with the Earth’s crust around the clock. That’s quite a lot of time looking at rocks, one might think. However, for OMV geologists their work is not just a job, it’s a passion and a calling that does not become less fascinating even when researching it in their free time. “Rocks fascinate us in all colors, shapes, and no matter where we find them. They tell us a great deal about how they were formed,” says Astrid Metz.

Over the years the following photographs were captured by our geologists on their journeys outside the office. Now we know why they love rocks and we hope to share that love with you.

Crater Lake White Island (New Zealand)Crater lake of an active volcano on White Island, New Zealand. Note the stranded delta bottom right of picture. Photo by Carey Mills© Carey Mills
Whakataki Miocene turbidite wave-cut platform (New Zealand)The photo looks across the Whakataki wave-cut platform towards Castle Point (Pliocene limestone outcrops). Whakataki formation is early Miocene and has been interpreted as a deep marine base of slope turbidite deposit. These rocks have been uplifted from flat to nearly vertical by thrust faults along the Pacific-Australian plate boundary that runs through New Zealand.© Rod Van Koughnet
Textbook folds (Greece)Beautifully folded outrcrop in south central Crete exhibiting angular folds in intercalated greyish limestone and dark siliceous layers. The location of the outcrop along the coast allows for a nice interplay between scales and perspectives.© Chloe Asmar
Barchan Dunes in the Namib Desert (Namibia)Dunes migrating over Precambrian basement in Namibia. Cretaceous dolerite/picrite dykes can be seen intruding the basement which is now peneplaned. In the Twyfelfontein the barchan dunes are preserved due to the syn-sedimentary burial by the interbedded Awahab Formation lava flows.© Clayton Grove
The Book Of Time (Romania)These pelitic, very finely laminated, paper like shales (dysodiles), interbeded with siliceous sandstone (Kliwa sandstone), can be found in the Sibiciului Valley ( Buzau). The dysodiles have high content in organic matter and they are believed to be the main source rocks in Carpathinas Fold and Thrust Belt. Beside hydrocarbon generation they have also been popular for very well preserved fossilized fish.© Alexandra Tamas
Potash Ponds, Moab, Utah (USA)According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Paradox Basin (USA) contains up to 2 billion tonnes of potash. Colorado river water is pumped into the mine and dissolves the potash. The brine solution is evaporated in ponds seen here. Multiple rock formations are visible, notably the Navajo Sandstone capping the sequence.© Liam Holt
Lulworth Crumple (United Kingdom)This is a Tertiary inversion at Lulworth Cove (Dorset). The raised Purbeck beds are an alternating series of hard limestone and soft shale beds. They have collapsed into a 'Crumple' because the soft shales are unable to withstand the force of gravity. The cliff erodes at two different speeds - the shales washing away quickly, leaving the unsupported limestone blocks drop onto the beach.© Markus Nüsslein
Little coin (Romania)Nummulites and their relatives are some of the biggest single-celled organisms to ever exist in the history of life, growing up to several centimeters. With a disk shaped test, their name is derived from the Latin ‘nummulus’ meaning “little coin”. The foraminifer in the picture is ‘just’ 1.5 cm and comes from the Eocene limestone quarry in Bughea de Jos (Romania).© Eugenia-Alexandra Oteleanu
Copper Ore in Fractures (USA)Found on the contact zone of an intrusive body (middle, left in the picture) and surrounding country rock. Fractures are due to the emplacement of the intrusive metal item and hydrothermal fluids then percolated into the open fractures.© Cameron Sheya
Petra (Jordan)Periodic precipitation of oxides in porous sandstones showing a nice flow pattern ("Liesegang" bands). The picture is about 2x3 meters and shows part of the ceiling of a room carved into the rocks in Petra (Jordan). © Ralph Hinsch

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