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Book Chapter

Tectonic evolution of the NW Red Sea-Gulf of Suez rift system

By
S. M. Khalil
S. M. Khalil
Fault Dynamics Research Group, Geology Department, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham TW20 OEX, UK (e-mail: ken@gl.rhul.ac.uk)
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K. R. McClay
K. R. McClay
Fault Dynamics Research Group, Geology Department, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham TW20 OEX, UK (e-mail: ken@gl.rhul.ac.uk)
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Published:
January 01, 2001

Abstract

The NW Red Sea-Gulf of Suez rift system was initiated during Late Oligocene time and underwent extension in a N65°E direction, almost orthogonal to pre-existing WNW-trending Pan African shear-zone fabrics in the crystalline basement of the Sinai-African plate. Earliest syn-rift sediments are Upper Oligocene continental clastic deposits with minor synrift basalts. Early Miocene sedimentation was dominated by shallow marine clastic deposits, which developed variable stratigraphic architectures as a response to the interaction of extensional faulting, sea-level changes, sediment supply and dispersal. Analysis of fault geometries, fault kinematics and sedimentation patterns indicates that rift-normal extension predominated throughout the Late Oligocene-Early Mid-Miocene evolution of the rift. Reactivation of the Precambrian basement fabrics was the main factor controlling the fault architecture, fault linkage and evolution of the NW Red Sea-Gulf of Suez rift. Individual faults were initially strongly segmented and offset across ‘soft-linked’ relay structures. With increased extension these faults became linked by breaking down relay structures with the development of local ‘hard-linked’ transfer faults, thus giving rise to the rhomboidal fault pattern of the rift system. In Mid-Miocene time, the Levant–Gulf of Aqaba transform boundary was established, linking the Red Sea rift plate boundary to the convergent Bitlis–Zagros plate boundary. This resulted in a dramatic decrease in extension rates within the Gulf of Suez whereas the northern Red Sea continued to extend, with significant syn-rift sediments deposited in Late Miocene–Pliocene time in offshore fault-bounded basins.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Non-Volcanic Rifting of Continental Margins: A Comparison of Evidence from Land and Sea

R. C. L. Wilson
R. C. L. Wilson
The Open University, UK
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R. B. Whitmarsh
R. B. Whitmarsh
Southampton Oceanography Centre, UK
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B. Taylor
B. Taylor
University of Hawaii, Hawaii
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N. Froitzheim
N. Froitzheim
University of Bonn, Germany
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Geological Society of London
Volume
187
ISBN electronic:
9781862394353
Publication date:
January 01, 2001

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