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ABSTRACT

Biostratigraphic investigations have been carried out on Ordovician chitinozoans mostly from the Quwarah, Ra’an, Kahfah and Hanadir members of the Qasim Formation in central Saudi Arabia. Among the 96 core samples processed from seven wells, about half of them (from wells Berri-84, Shedgum-239, Ain Dar-196 and Ain Dar-277) provided workable specimens, whereas the other wells, namely Ain Dar-281, Haradh-51 and Abu Jifan-25 were barren. Some chitinozoan species of Baltic affinities (e.g. Laufeldochitina striata) or of Laurentian affinities (e.g. Lagenochitina cf. pirum) are present, but most of the recovered chitinozoan species are of northern Gondwana affinities. These chitinozoans allow accurate correlation with the local chitinozoan biozones already established for northern Saudi Arabia. Precise correlation with some of the Ordovician chitinozoan biozones for the northern Gondwana regions can also be proposed (e.g. lower part of the pissotensis biozone). The available samples are not, however, sufficiently closely spaced for characterizing all the Ordovician chitinozoan biozones. It is not yet possible, therefore, to document eventual hiatuses in the Ordovician sedimentary succession of central Saudi Arabia. The investigated samples from the Quwarah, Ra’an, Kahfah and Hanadir members of the Qasim Formation are respectively dated as Ashgill, late Caradoc/earliest Ashgill, Caradoc and Llanvirn. Strata referred to the Sarah Formation are probably of topmost Ashgill age but may range into earliest Llandovery. Several new species have been observed. They are presently kept in open nomenclature until better preserved material is available for proposing well-documented diagnosis.

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