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Book Chapter

Carbonate Eolianites from a Eustatically Influenced Ramp-Like Setting: The Quaternary of the Southern Arabian Gulf

By
Alun H. Williams
Alun H. Williams
Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, King's College, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AB9 2UE, Scotland, UKpresent address: Oolithica Geoscience Ltd., 2nd Floor, 489 Union St., Aberdeen AB11 6DB, Scotland, UK
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Gordon M. Walkden
Gordon M. Walkden
Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, King's College, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AB9 2UE, Scotland, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2001

Abstract

Quaternary carbonate eolianites, accumulated through eolian reworking of marine sediments, occur extensively in the southern Arabian Gulf. In Abu Dhabi and Qatar these include widespread deposits belonging to the middle-late Pleistocene Ghayathi Formation, scattered coastal outcrops belonging to the Sangamonian Fuwayrit Formation, and semilithified deposits believed to be Wisconsin-Holocene in age. Deposition of these eolianites was intimately linked to fluctuations of sea level and climate. Sea level has controlled the amount and the nature of sediment available for eolian deposition, whereas paleoclimate has been the main factor influencing the size and location of the eolianites. The Ghayathi Formation provides an example of “regressive eolianites,” which were deposited through deflation of the shoreface during and following sea-level fall, accompanied by inland migration of eolian sediment. In contrast, the Fuwayrit Formation eolianites were deposited during highstand. The Wisconsin-Holocene semilithified eolian sands are best explained in terms of deposition during transgression. Negligible subsidence is believed to have occurred since the eolianites were deposited.

Modern carbonate dune accumulations are rare in the southern Arabian Gulf. In Abu Dhabi this seems to be largely a result of the present-day coastal geomorphology, with deposits limited by the size of barrier islands. In Qatar the buildup of eolianites is currently prevented by offshore deflation on the eastern coast.

In a ramp-like setting, such as the Arabian Gulf, eolian reworking of marine sediment can take place over a much longer period than in isolated platform settings, because sediment production is less dependent upon high sea levels. In addition, subaerial lithification of aragonitic sediments is retarded by the predominantly arid climate of the Arabian Gulf. In this respect, southern Gulf eolianites may be more analogous to ancient carbonate deposits than those from more humid Quaternary settings.

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SEPM Special Publication

Modern and Ancient Carbonate Eolianites: Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, and Diagenesis

F. E. (Rick) Abegg
F. E. (Rick) Abegg
Chevron USA Production Company, 935 Gravier St., New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, U.S.A.
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David B. Loope
David B. Loope
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588, U.S.A.
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Paul M. (Mitch) Harris
Paul M. (Mitch) Harris
Chevron Petroleum Technology Company, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
71
ISBN electronic:
9781565761933
Publication date:
January 01, 2001

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