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Post-Paleozoic Development: Formation of the Arabian Northeast Passive Margin

January 01, 1991


The northeast Arabian plate margin initially formed as a result of the Late Permian extension and rifting. However, in the Triassic, this led to the breakup, subsidence and separation of former fragments of marginal Gondwana (represented by central Iran and other blocks, such as the Sanandaj/Sirjan magmatic arc, northwest Iran and part of Turkey) from the Arabian margin as part of the Cimmerian continent. The initial opening of the neo-Tethys ocean can perhaps be considered a back-arc basin (Sengor, 1990). Although compressed by Tertiary collision, this margin now extends from northwest Iraq, east of the north-trending Ha'il-Ga'ara (-Khleisia) arch of Paleozoic or older origin (Figure 1), to Oman.

An extraordinarily wide, shallow, marine (epeiric) shelf developed on this Mesozoic passive margin. The vast areal extent of this shallow sea (no comparable modern analog on this scale exists), engendered a remarkable uniformity of deposits and the great lateral extent of potential source, reservoir, and seal lithofacies. The southeast (Oman-Somali) margin and the north and northwest (Levant) margins evolved either simultaneously with the northeast margin or very shortly after. Present plate reassemblies require that the southeast margin formed when the Afghan and perhaps part of central Iran block separated from between Arabia and India along transform fractures, as the breakup of western and eastern Gondwana proceeded. The north and northwest margins formed by propagation of the neo-Tethys spreading center northwestwards, and by drift of the main Turkish blocks from the Levant northwards (Figure 11).

Arid and semi-arid conditions characterized the Triassic, and

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Arabian Plate Hydrocarbon Geology and Potential—A Plate Tectonic Approach

Z. R. Beydoun
Z. R. Beydoun
American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Marathon International Petroleum (GB) Ltd., London, U.K.
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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January 01, 1991




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