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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 74 (1990)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1386

Last Page: 1400

Title: Miocene Sandstone Provenance Relations in the Gulf of Suez: Insights into Synrift Unroofing and Uplift History (1)

Author(s): ANDREW L. EVANS (2)


Time-compositional relations inferred from point counts of 46 upper Oligocene to middle Miocene syn-rift sandstones from Gulf of Suez outcrops are used to further constrain the uplift and unroofing history of this Neogene continental rift. Although earliest rifting began by approximately 24 Ma, as evidenced by minor basaltic volcanism, the main phase of crustal extension, tectonic subsidence of the axial trough, and rift-margin uplift began approximately 19 Ma.

Oligocene and basal Miocene (Nukhul Formation) sandstones are dominated by monocrystalline quartz and clasts derived from only the youngest pre-rift strata (Eocene), indicating that relief was probably less than 200 m until 20 Ma. The lower Miocene Rudeis Formation records both major subsidence in the axial trough and peak unroofing of the pre-rift sedimentary sequence from 19-16 Ma. Middle Miocene sandstones derived from the Kareem and Belayim formations are increasingly dominated by crystalline basement-derived detritus, recording rapid increase in rift-margin relief after approximately 14 Ma.

Diachronism in the first appearance of unroofed basement detritus across the rift indicates uplift of the western margin may have preceded that of the eastern margin by as much as 2 m.y. Once rapid uplift began, between about 20-17 Ma, unroofing of a maximum of 1000 m of the pre-rift strata occurred in less than 2 m.y.

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