Reflection seismic data, well data, geochemical data, and surface geology suggest that a Cretaceous rift basin exists beneath the thrusted allochthonous sedimentary sequence of the Masirah graben, Oman. The Masirah graben is located east of the Huqf uplift, parallel to the southern coast of Oman. The eastern side of the northeast-trending Huqf anticlinorium is bounded by an extensional fault system that is downthrown to the southeast, forming the western edge of the Masirah graben. This graben is limited to the east by a large wedge of sea floor sediments and oceanic crust, that is stacked as imbricate thrusts. These sediments/ophiolites were obducted onto the southern margin of the Arabian plate during the collision of the Indian/Afghan plates at the end of the Cretaceous. Most of the Masirah graben is covered by an allochthonous sedimentary sequence, which is complexly folded and deformed above a detachment. This complexly deformed sequence contrasts sharply with what is believed to be a rift sequence below the ophiolites. The sedimentary sequence in the Masirah graben was stable until further rifting of the Arabian Sea/Gulf of Aden in the late Tertiary, resulting in reactivation of earlier rift-associated faults. Wells drilled in the Masirah graben in the south penetrated reservoir quality rocks in the Lower Cretaceous Natih and Shuaiba carbonates. Analyses of oil extracted from Infracambrian sedimentary rocks penetrated by these wells suggest an origin from a Mesozoic source rock.

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