Sedimentary environment evolution in a marine hangingwall dipslope setting. El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt

Research paper by Martin Muravchik, Rob L. Gawthorpe, Ian R. Sharp, Franklin Rarity, David Hodgetts

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 24 Jan '17Published in: Basin Research


Sedimentation in hangingwall dipslope settings is still a relatively underexplored topic in rift basin studies. A better understanding of the evolution of marine sedimentary environments in this kind of settings has to address the variations occurring both along the strike and down the dipslope. Previous work was mainly built on the analysis of subsurface data, relying on the visualization of coarse resolution (10s of m) seismic sections and sparsely located borehole logs (km apart). This study focuses on the sedimentology and stratal arrangement of excellent quality Miocene marine early syn-rift and rift climax successions continuously exposed for more than 20 km along the strike of the hangingwall dipslope in the El Qaa Fault Block, Suez Rift, Egypt. The integration of traditional sedimentary field techniques and terrestrial LIDAR scanning allowed for a detailed analysis of dip and dip direction for the different depositional units. Three different phases of tilting were identified for the hangingwall dipslope, which controlled the overall evolution of the marine sedimentary environment in the area. The tilt of the hangingwall not only determined variations in facies, thickness and grain-size of the deposits down the dipslope but also along its strike. The studied exposures of the El Qaa Fault Block dipslope constitute a unique outcrop analogue for marine sedimentation in hangingwall dipslopes.