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Deep seismic profiles, recorded in the foothills of the Northern Emirates, image the thrust-belt architecture and document the wide underthrusting of Mesozoic sedimentary units in the footwall of the Hawasina–Sumeini allochthon in the Dibba Zone, beneath the Semail Ophiolite. Integrated structural and geophysical modeling helped to constrain the structural architecture of two regional transects crossing the foreland and adjacent foothills. 2-D forward kinematic and thermal modeling was performed with Thrustpack® along the transects, whereas CERES2D® complete petroleum system modeling was subsequently performed along the northern transect. One hundred twenty kilometers (75 mi) of convergence occurred from the Santonian to the end of Early Miocene, of which about 80 km (50 mi) correspond to the obduction of the Semail Ophiolite and Sumeini–Hawasina units over the Arabian margin, whereas the remaining approximately 40 km (25 mi) were accommodated by the fold-and-thrust structures of the Oman belt. Paleogene source rocks of the foredeep only reached the beginning of the oil window. In contrast, Mesozoic source rocks of the underthrusted foreland are overmature or in the gas window in the foothills, but still preserve hydrocarbon (HC) potential further west in the foreland. Frozen kitchens may still be preserved in the hinterland, due to the high thermal conductivity of its former ophiolitic cover.

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