Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Stephen Kaczmarek

Second Advisor

Talal Al-Hosni

Third Advisor

Mohammed Alkindi


Mumian is a sticky black-brown material found in the Mumian cave in Wadi Al Mayh, Al Amerat, Oman. Mumian has been used for centuries as traditional medicine by the local Omani people. Though commonly ingested orally to resolve a variety of common ailments, very little is known about the Mumian material in terms of its chemical composition. The principle aim of this study is to characterize the Mumian and the host rock in terms of the mineralogy and chemical characteristics using a variety of analytic instruments, including XRD, NMR, FT-IR, XRF, and UV- VIS. A secondary goal of this study is to compare and contrast the Omani Mumian with a similar substance from India called Shilajit, which contains a mixture of organic humic molecules (Agarwa et al., 2008). Shilajit has similar physical properties as Mumian and people are using it for the same purpose that the Omani are using the Mumian, but how the two substance compare is unknown.

Data obtained from XRD, XRF, and thin sections indicate that the host rock of the Mumian cave is a Ca-Mg-carbonate mineral called dolomite. XRF data further show that the Mumian contains high concentrations of Mg, Ca, Si, K, Fe, S, Cl, Al, P, Mn, and Ba, and low concentrations of Cu, Zn, Se, Cr, As, Pb, Cd, Ag, Ni, Sb, Se, Ti, V, Rb, Sr, Zr, Sn, Sb, Te, and Cs.

The 1H NMR data suggests the presence of aliphatic multiplet protons, carbohydrate molecules, multiplet aromatic protons, and N-containing molecules in the Mumian. The 13C NMR data indicates the presence of C-OH carbon, aromatic carbon of hippuric acid, and amide structures. In addition, the FTIR analysis shows the presence of hydrogen-bonded OH groups, O−H bending vibrations of alcohols or carboxylic acids, and C−O stretching suggest the presence of polysaccharides. The UV-VIS analysis indicates that the highest amount of absorption of UV radiation in the Mumian is within the region of ultraviolet C (200-290 nm) suggesting the possibility that Mumian might be useful as a natural UVC absorbent.

Despite similarities in the NMR, IR, and UV- VIS data, there are some notable chemical differences between the Omani Mumian and the Indian Shilajit, which may be attributed to different sample preparation techniques in the two studies. As a result of that, the data shown in this study does not correspond exactly with the published data in the Indian Shilajit studies. Further analyses are, therefore, required to more fully characterize the Omani Mumian in terms of its molecular composition.


Fourth Advisor - Steven Bertman

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Geochemistry Commons