Original Paper

Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 2035-2044

Infracambrian superimposed tectonics in the Late Proterozoic units of Mount Ablah area, southern Asir Terrane, Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia

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Abstract

Mount Ablah is a mining prospect, hosted by a dioritic igneous body that is bound to the east by greenschist grade metamorphic rocks and to the west by Ablah group volcano–sedimentary rocks. Rock units of Mount Ablah area were remapped through field investigations, petrological studies, and analysis of enhanced TM Landsat data. Ablah group rocks were divided into lower tuffaceous and upper epiclastic units. The epiclastic unit was divided into three subunits. During remapping, a sliver of serpentinite was discovered, which occurs between the dioritic igneous body and Ablah group rocks. The greenschist grade metamorphic rocks were intruded by Late Proterozoic quartz diorite prior to deposition of Ablah group rocks. The epiclastic unit is an infracambrian molassic unit that filled a graben, known as the Ablah graben. The Mount Ablah area was intruded by post-tectonic granitic rocks and affected by two superimposed F1-F2 folding events, associated with thrust and dextral faults, respectively. The first folding event involved N–S folding and thrusting. Simultaneously, stress partitioning at E–W accommodations zones produced E–W minor folds (F2) and associated E–W dextral faults. The F1–F2 folding events are contemporaneous with the Pan African deformation event, also known as the East African Orogeny (EAO). The EAO is infracambrian in age and culminated in development of the Najd sinistral fault system. The E–W dextral faults were probably reactivated during Cenozoic Red Sea rifting. The Ablah graben's infracambrian sedimentary rocks, such as siltstone, sandstone, and limestone that are mainly bound within the Ablah graben were not deformed prior to F1–F2 folding. Thus, the upper epiclastic unit of the Ablah group rocks is rheologically different from the surrounding greenschist rocks, responded to the late E–W compression in a more ductile manner than the surrounding greenschist rocks. Therefore, the Ablah graben was inverted, refolded, and crosscut by E–W dextral faults during the infracambrian EAO event, prior to development of Najd sinistral fault system, which are evident in Asir Terrane and crosscut Ablah graben.

Keywords

Arabian Shield Ablah graben Suture zone