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Abstract

Ten depositional shoaling-upward cycles have been identified in the Aptian Shuaiba Formation of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). A similar number of cycles have been recognized in the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPRA). Similarities of these cycles with the onlapping shelf geometries of the Neogene of the Bahamas suggest that the sequence geometries of Aptian strata of the NPRA and the U.A.E. are a response to high-frequency changes in eustatic sea-level position. Because the Aptian cycles of the NPRA match similarly dated, events in the U.A.E., it is suggested that where biostratigraphic data are poor the sedimentary section can be tentatively dated by relating the geometries of the shelf margin to the character of the coastal onlap curve and its coincident sea-level chart. Thus, a sea-level chart might be used at locations for which biostratigraphic data is sparse to determine and constrain preliminary depositional models for specific time intervals.

With this in mind, two biostratigraphic models for dating the Shuaiba Formation and the Bab Member were tested against the sea-level curve of Haq et al. (1987) using a sedimentary simulation. The results were ambiguous because both biostratigraphic models could not be matched. Also in both cases, the simulation suggested that just prior to the deposition of the Bab Member the basin margin was uplifted and then subsided, causing a local relative sea-level fall followed by a rise, an event not found on the sea-level chart of Haq et al. (1987). Additionally, the sedimentary simulation supports the position that the Aptian in the U.A.E. is bounded by erosional unconformity surfaces and contains higher-frequency cycles.

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