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Structural controls on non fabric‐selective dolomitization within rift‐related basin‐bounding normal fault systems: Insights from the Hammam Faraun Fault, Gulf of Suez, Egypt

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structure, rift basins, dolomitization, carbonates, basin fluids

Abstract (summary)

Fault‐controlled dolostone bodies have been described as potential hydrocarbon‐bearing reservoirs. Numerous case studies have described the shape and size of these often non fabric selective dolostone bodies within the vicinity of crustal‐scale lineaments, usually from Palaeozoic or Mesozoic carbonate platforms, which have undergone one or more phases of burial and exhumation. There has been little attention paid, however, to fault‐strike variability in dolostone distribution or the preferential localization of these bodies on particular faults. This study focuses on dolostone bodies adjacent to the Hammam Faraun Fault (HFF), Gulf of Suez. This crustal‐scale normal fault was activated in the Late Oligocene, coincident with the onset of extension within the Suez Rift. Dolomitization in the prerift Eocene Thebes Formation occurred in the immediate footwall of the HFF forming two massive, non facies selective dolostone bodies, ca. 500 m wide. Facies‐controlled tongues of dolostone on the margins of the massive dolostone bodies extend for up to 100 m. The geochemical signature of the dolostone bodies is consistent with replacement by Miocene seawater, contemporaneous with the rift climax and localization of strain along the HFF. A conceptual model of dolomitization from seawater that circulated within the HFF during the rift climax is presented. Seawater was either directly drawn down the HFF or circulated from the hanging wall basin via a permeable aquifer towards the HFF. The lateral extent of the massive dolostone bodies was controlled by pre‐existing HFF‐parallel fracture corridors on the outer margins of the damage zone of the fault. The behaviour of these fracture corridors alternated between acting as barriers to fluid flow before rupture and acting as flow conduits during or after rupture. Multiple phases of dolomitization and recrystallization during the ca. 10 Ma period in which dolomitization occurred led to mottled petrographical textures and wide‐ranging isotopic signatures. The localization of dolomitization on the HFF is interpreted to reflect its proximity to a rift accommodation zone which facilitated vertical fluid flow due to perturbed and enhanced stresses during fault interaction. It is possible that the presence of jogs along the strike of the fault further focused fluid flux. As such, it is suggested that the massive dolostones described in this study provide a window into the earliest stages of formation of fault‐controlled hydrothermal dolostone bodies, which could have occurred in other areas and subsequently been overprinted by more complex diagenetic and structural fabrics.

Publication Information

Hirani, Jesal, Eivind Bastesen, Adrian Boyce, Hilary Corlett, Anja Eker, Rob Gawthorpe, Cathy Hollis, Irina Korneva, and Atle Rotevatn. "Structural controls on non fabric‐selective dolomitization within rift‐related basin‐bounding normal fault systems: Insights from the Hammam Faraun Fault, Gulf of Suez, Egypt." Basin Research 30, no. 5 (2018): 990-1014.


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