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Abstract

Detailed study of outcrop and subsurface data of North Sinai indicates the existence of a NE–SW oriented region with very large asymmetric folds lying between the Nile Delta hinge zone and the Sinai hinge belt. The steep southeastern flanks of these folds are often associated with high-angle reverse faults. These folds continue northeastward in the Naqb Desert toward the Dead Sea transform. The North Sinai folds represent inversion anticlines formed by inversion of Mesozoic (Jurassic and probably Cretaceous) extensional basins during Late Cretaceous to pre-Miocene times. Mesozoic extension is related to the divergence between Afro-Arabia and Eurasia and opening of the Neotethys whereas inversion is related to the convergent movement between these two plates. The acme of inversion was at Campanian time. The central Sinai hinge belt is a zone of ENE–WSW oriented, right-lateral strike–slip faults that separate the folded area to the north from the tectonically stable area of central and southern Sinai. It responded to the convergent movement between Afro-Arabia and Eurasia by dextral transpression on the faults. Later reactivation of the eastern edges of these faults by drag on the west side of the Dead Sea transform took place in post-Miocene to Recent times.

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