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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1661

Last Page: 1661

Title: Gulf of Elat (Aqaba): Modern Analog to Mesozoic U.S. East Coast Shelf and Slope: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Samuel A. Epstein, Gerald M. Friedman

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The tectonic setting and depositional environments in the Gulf of Elat (Aqaba) may be similar to those along the ancient margin of the U.S. East Coast. The Gulf of Elat is the northern continuation of the Red Sea rift zone, where carbonates are accumulating contemporaneously with clastics under arid conditions. The clastics are primarily deposited in submarine alluvial-fan complexes--wadis which impinge upon the shelf. Carbonate deposits and reef complexes sit along the shelf break. Calcium carbonate cementation has significantly reduced the porosity and permeability (^Thgr 28%, k, 0.01 md) of both clastic and carbonate deposits. However, Pleistocene carbonates on uplifted blocks in the adjacent onshore have undergone dissolution due to the meteoric leaching. They contain high secondary porosity and permeability (^Thgr 60%, k, 10,000 md).

The U.S. eastern continental margin initially rifted during the Triassic. Jurassic-Cretaceous sediments reflect early stages of rifting. Offshore east coast sediments are comprised of continental clastics, which are believed to grade progressively into carbonates to the east (approaching the shelf break). To date, only the clastic facies have been extensively drilled.

We have seen that reservoir quality in carbonates of the Gulf of Elat can be significantly enhanced by subaerial exposure. Thus, exploration for good carbonate reservoirs should be focused on unconformity surfaces, where subaerial exposure may have created or enhanced secondary porosity and permeability. Such unconformities cutting the carbonate buildup have been identified, and suggest good potential reservoirs under the U.S. East Coast shelf break and slope.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists