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The Atlas Mountains of Morocco stretch across the northwest African continent and can be subdivided into the High Atlas on the south and the Middle Atlas on the north, separated by the broad Atlas platform in eastern Morocco. The Lower and Middle Jurassic rocks which form the Atlas Mountains consist of a series of limestones, interbedded dolomites, and cherts. These rocks comprise the following three facies: (1) littoral-lagoon facies; (2) shelf facies characterized by reefs and a shallow-water neritic fauna; and (3) a deeper-water bathyal facies dominated by planktonic forams and radiolarians. The facies of the Middle Atlas are similar to those of the High Atlas and were deposited in a branch of the Atlas sea. Detailed studies of the High Atlas indicate that it grew in r sponse to rifting. Both north and south margins are characterized by reefs and shaly limestone, which were deposited over steep fault scarps. The Atlas ocean, which formed during the Early Jurassic and reached its demise during the Late Jurassic can be compared favorably with the Red Sea from the point of view of facies distribution, faunal associations, and gross size and geographic relations.
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