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This review of the geology and hydrocarbon potential of the Gulf of Suez makes sense on two counts. First, a knowledge of rifts is essential to an understanding of the tectonics of the earth and second, hydrocarbon exploration and production in the gulf have been highly successful producing a vast amount of subsurface geological data. This has greatly improved the geologic understanding of the Gulf of Suez rift basin.

Historically, from a petroleum standpoint, the earliest Egyptians no doubt used tar from seeps to caulk boa.ts, grease wagon wheels, etc. The presence of fault controlled seeps, onshore, led to the current offshore petroleum exploration efforts.

Much has been learned about rift behavior during exploration of the Gulf of Suez and many pet theories have been discarded and others developed during the process. Strike slip movement, originally thought to be 50–80 mi, is now considered to be insignificant.

Until quite recently, source rocks were considered to be the Miocene Globigerina marls whose presence is restricted to the rift. Modern studies have shown that instead the dominant oil source is the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) "Brown Limestone" Member of the Sudr Formation. This formation is regionally extensive and rifting had no depositional effect other than to cause it to be buried deeply enough to reach thermal maturity.

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