Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 119–131 | Cite as

Holocene marine cement coatings on beach-rocks of the Abu Dhabi coastline (UAE); Analogs for cement fabrics in ancient limestones

  • Christopher G.SSt C. Kendall
  • James L. Sadd
  • Abdulrahman Alsharhan


Marine carbonate cements, which are superficially like travertines from meteoric caves, are coating and binding some intertidal sedimentary rock surfaces occurring in coastal Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, (UAE). Near Jebel Dhana these surficial cements can be up to 3 cm thick and envelope beach rock surfaces and fossils. They are also present both as thin coats and a fracture-fill cement in the intertidal hard grounds associated with the Khor Al Bazam algal flats.

The thickness, microscopic characteristics, and morphology of the marine cement coatings from Jebel Dhana indicates incremental deposition of aragonite in conjunction with traces of sulfate minerals. Most of these cement coatings are micritic, but the layers which encrust the hard grounds from the algal flat of the Khor al Bazam have a more radial and fibrous micro-structure and are composed solely of aragonite.

The stable isotopic composition of coatings from Jebel Dhana (δ18O = +0.35, δ13C = +4.00) falls within the compositional range for modern marine non skeletal aragonite and suggests that the marine travertine-like cements precipitate from the agitated, slightly hypersaline Arabian Gulf’ sea water during repeated cycles of exposure, evaporation and immersion.

Similar cement coatings and microfabrics are present in the tepee structured and brecciated sediments of the Guadalupe Mountains (Permian) and the Italian Alps (Triassic), in Holocene algal head cements from the Great Salt Lake, and in similar Tertiary algal heads in the Green River Formation of the western US. The petrographic similarity of these ancient “flow stone” like cements with Recent hypersaline marine cement coatings suggests that high rates of carbonate cementation and hypersaline conditions contribute to tepee formation and cavity fill.


Holocene Aragonite United Arab Emirate Travertine Ooids 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher G.SSt C. Kendall
    • 1
  • James L. Sadd
    • 2
  • Abdulrahman Alsharhan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia
  2. 2.Department of GeologyOccidental CollegeLos Angeles
  3. 3.Desert and Marine Environment Research CenterUnited Arab Emirates UniversityAl AinUnited Arab Emirates

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