Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Microstructural analyses of the Najd Fault System in Midyan Terrane, NW Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia

  • 137 Accesses

Abstract

This article discusses the microstructural indicators exposed within the Precambrian Ajjaj–Qazaz–Hanabiq (AQH) shear zones in order to determine the shear sense. The AQH shear zones are located in the southern sector of the Midyan Terrane in the northwestern part of the Arabian Shield. Structural and microfabric analyses along these shear zones indicate a top-to-the-NW sense of shear. Exposures in this area comprise elongated ridges of ophiolitic rocks, arc metavolcanics and sporadic arc-related Neoproterozoic intrusions. They are unconformably overlain by post-amalgamation molasses-type sediments and were finally intruded by late to post-tectonic intrusions. Structural field relations along with microfabric analyses and overprinting relationships provide evidence of the sense of movements and phases of deformation. There were at least four phases of deformation. The oldest (Hijaz) D1 structures are rare and are represented by foliation striking WNW to E–W and by F1 interfolial folding with an axial plane striking ENE–WSW and moderately plunging fold axes trending WSW. D2 microstructures are also scarce and represented by foliation and (F2) folding directed in NNW to N–S trends parallel to the Nabitah suture. However, they are commonly deformed and overprinted by the Najd Fault System that formed during the D3 deformational phase. The D3 deformational phase is prominent, and it developed during the propagation of the NW transpressional shearing of the Najd Fault System. These shear zones could be identified in this region with the help of the following microstructures: sigmoidal structures, mantled porphyroclastic structures, asymmetric boudins, tension gashes, fish-shaped structures, oblique foliation, bookshelf sliding structures, slickenlines, C–S tectonites and fracturing along the AQH shear zones. Shear sense analysis of microstructural markers at the microscopic scale, supported by field observations and map-scale structures, implies that both the Ajjaj and Qazaz shear zones display top-to-the-NW or top-to-the-WNW slip. The shear sense indicators along the Hanabiq shear zone show top-to-the-NNE slip. These inconsistencies in their shear sense and their orientations were caused by the exhumation of high-grade gneisses, which distorted the shear trend to the north in the Hanabiq shear zone. All the previous structures are overprinted by the brittle D4 deformational phase in the form of microfaulting and fracturing.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

References

  1. Abd-Allah AMA, Ahmed AH, El-Fakharani A, El-Sawy EK, Ali KA (2014) Fatima suture: a new amalgamation zone in the western Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia. Precambrian Res 249:57–78

  2. Abdelsalam MG, Stern RJ (1996) Sutures and shear zones in the Arabian-Nubian Shield. J Afr Earth Sci 23(3):289–310

  3. Abdelsalam MG, Stern RJ, Copeland P, Elfaki EM, Elhur B, Ibrahim FM (1998) The Neoproterozoic Keraf Suture in NE Sudan: sinistral transpression along the eastern margin of West Gondwana. J Geol 106(2):133–148

  4. Abu-Alam TS, Stüwe K (2009) Exhumation during oblique transpression: the Feiran-Solaf region, Egypt. J Metamor Geol 27(6):439–459

  5. Abu El-Enen MM (2011) Geochemistry, provenance, and metamorphic evolution of Gabal Samra Neoproterozoic metapelites, Sinai, Egypt. J Afr Earth Sci 59:269–282

  6. Ali KA, Azer MK, Gahlan HA, Wilde SA, Samuel MD, Stern RJ (2010) Age of formation and emplacement of Neoproterozoic ophiolites and related rocks along the Allaqi Suture, south Eastern Desert, Egypt. Gondwana Res 18:583–595

  7. AlKashghari WA (2017) Tectonic styles of Hanabiq, Ajjaj, and Qazazshear zones: implication of oblique transpression in the Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia, a Ph.D. dissertation. King Abdulaziz University

  8. Asran AM, Emam A, El-Fakharani A (2017) Geology, structure, geochemistry and ASTER-based mapping of Neoproterozoic Gebel El-Delihimmi granites, Central Eastern Desert of Egypt. Lithos 282:358–372

  9. Baggazi HM, AlKashghari WA, Elfakharani A, Matsah M, El-Shafei MK (2019) Northern Arabian Shield shear zones: strain analysis comparison. Arab J Geosci 12(3):75

  10. Bokhari F, Kramers JD (1981) Island arc character and later precambrian age of volcanics at Wadi Shawas, Saudi Arabia: geochemical and Sr and Nd isotopic evidence. Earth Planet Sci Lett 54:409–422

  11. Boullier AM (1980) A preliminary study of the behavior of brittle minerals in a ductile matrix: example of zircon and feldspars. J Struct Geol 2:211–217

  12. Claesson S, Pallister JS, Tatsumoto M (1984) Samarium-neodymium data on two late Proterozoic ophiolites of Saudi Arabia and implications for crustal and mantle evolution. Contrib Mineral Petrol 85:244–252

  13. Cole RB, Ridgway KD, Layer PW, Drake J (1999) Kinematics of basin development during the transition from terrane accretion to strike-slip tectonics, Late Cretaceous-early Tertiary Cantwell Formation, south central Alaska. Tectonics 8:1224–1244

  14. Davies FB (1981) The reconnaissance geology of the Wadi Thalbah quadrangle, sheet 26/36 A, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources Geologic [Geoscience] Map GM-42, scale 1:100,000

  15. Davies FB, McEwen G (1985) Geologic map of the Al Wajh quadrangle, sheet 26B, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources Geologic Map GM-83

  16. Dilek Y, Ahmed H, (2003). Proterozoic ophiolites of the Arabian Shield and their significance in Precambrian tectonics. In Dilek Y, Robinson PT (eds) Ophiolite in earth history, vol 218. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, pp 685–700

  17. Duncan IJ, Rivard B, Arvidson RE, Sultan M (1990) Structural interpretation and tectonic evolution of a part of the Najd Shear Zone (Saudi Arabia) using Landsat thematic-mapper data. Tectonophysics 178:309–315

  18. El-Enen MMA, Whitehouse MJ (2013) The Feiran-Solaf metamorphic complex, Sinai, Egypt: geochronological and geochemical constraints on its evolution. Precambr Res 239:106–125

  19. El-Fakharani AH, Takeshita T (2008) Brittle normal faulting in the highest-grade Sambagawa metamorphic rocks of central Shikoku, southwest Japan: indication of the exhumation into the upper crustal level. J Asian Earth Sci 33(5–6):303–322

  20. El-Sawy EK, Masrouhi A (2018) Structural style and kinematic evolution of Al Ji’lani area, Ad Dawadimi terrane, Saudi Arabia. J Afr Earth Sci 150:451–465

  21. El-Wahed MAA (2008) Thrusting and transpressional shearing in the Pan-African nappe southwest El-Sibai core complex, Central Eastern Desert, Egypt. J Afr Earth Sci 50(1):16–36

  22. Emam A, Hamimi Z, El-Fakharani A, Abdel-Rahman E, Barreiro JG, Abo-Soliman MY (2018) Utilization of ASTER and OLI data for lithological mapping of Nugrus-Hafafit area, South Eastern Desert of Egypt. Arab J Geosci 11(23):756

  23. Frets DC, Khallaf H, Khokandi ME, Tayeb GMS, Davies FB (1981) The reconnaissance geology of the Aba al Qazzaz quadrangle, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian Directorate General of Mineral Resources Geologic Map GM-43, scale 1:100,000

  24. Fritz H, Wallbrecher E, Khuideir AA, El Ela A, Dallmeyer DR (1996) Formation of Neoproterozoic metamorphic core complexes during oblique convergence (Eastern Desert, Egypt). J Afr Earth Sci 23:311–329

  25. Genna A, Nehlig P, Le Goff E, Guerrot C, Shanti M (2002) Proterozoic tectonism of the Arabian Shield. Precambrian Res 117:21–40

  26. Goscombe BD, Passchier CW (2003) Asymmetric boudins as shear sense indicators—an assessment from field data. J Struct Geol 25:575–589

  27. Grotenhuis SM, Trouw RAJ, Passchier CW (2003) Evolution of mica fish in mylonitic rocks. Tectonophysics 372:1–21

  28. Hamimi Z, El-Sawy ESK, El-Fakharani A, Matsah M, Shujoon A, El-Shafei MK (2014) Neoproterozoic structural evolution of the NE-trending Ad-Damm shear zone, arabian shield, Saudi Arabia. J Afr Earth Sci 99:51–63

  29. Hamimi Z, El-Fakharani A, Emam A, Barreiro JG, Abdelrahman E, Abo-Soliman MY (2018) Reappraisal of the kinematic history of Nugrus shear zone using PALSAR and microstructural data: implications for the tectonic evolution of the Eastern Desert tectonic terrane, northern Nubian Shield. Arab J Geosci 11(17):494

  30. Hanmer S, Passchier CW (1991) Shear sense indicators: a review. Geol Surv Can Pap 90:1–71

  31. Hargrove US (2006) Crustal evolution of the Neoproterozoic Bi’r Umq suture zone, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Geochronological, isotopic, and geochemical constraints. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Texas at Dallas

  32. Hassan M, Stüwe K, Abu-Alam TS, Klötzli U, Tiepolo M (2016a) Time constraints on deformation of the Ajjaj branch of one of the largest Proterozoic shear zones on Earth: The Najd Fault System. Gondwana Res 34:346–362

  33. Hassan M, Abu-Alam TS, Hauzenberger C, Stüwe K (2016b) Geochemical signature variation of pre-, syn-, and post-shearing intrusives within the Najd Fault System of western Saudi Arabia. Lithos 263:274–291

  34. Hedge CE (1984) Precambrian geochronology of part of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources Open-File Report USGS-OF-04-31

  35. Hirth G, Tullis J (1992) Dislocation creep regimes in quartz aggregates. J Struct Geol 14:145–159

  36. Hobbs BE, Means WD, Williams PF (1976) An outline of structural geology. Wiley, New York

  37. Jackson NJ, Ramsay CR (1980) Time-space relationships of upper Precambrian volcanic and sedimentary unit are in the central Arabian Shield. J Geol Soc Lond 137:617–628

  38. Jackson NJ, Walsh JN, Pegram E (1984) Geology, Geochemistry and petrogenesis of Late Precambrian granitoids in the central Hijaz region of the Arabian Shield. Contrib Mineral Petrol 87(3):205–219

  39. Johnson PR (2003) Post-amalgamation basins of the NE Arabian Shield and implications for Neoproterozoic tectonism in the northern East African Orogen. Precambrian Res 123:321–337

  40. Johnson PR (2006)Explanatory notes to the map of Proterozoic geology of western Saudi Arabia: Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report, SGS-TR-2006-4, 28 p. scale 1:1,500,000

  41. Johnson PR, Kattan F (1999) The Ruwah, Ar Rika, and Halaban-Zarghat fault zones: northwest-trending Neoproterozoic brittle-ductile shear zones in west-central Saudi Arabia. In: De Wall H, Greiling OR (eds) Aspects of Pan-African Tectonics, vol 32 of bilateral seminars of the international Bureau, pp 75–79

  42. Johnson PR, Kattan F (2001) Oblique sinistral transpression in the Arabian shield: the timing and kinematics of a Neoproterozoic suture zone. Precambr Res 107(1–2):117–138

  43. Johnson PR, Kattan FK (2012) The Geology of the Arabian Shield. A review of the geology of Precambrian rocks, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SGS, Special Publication, Riyadh

  44. Johnson PR, Abdelsalam MG, Stern RJ (2002) The Bi’r Umq-Nakasib shear zone: geology and structure of a Neoproterozoic suture in the northern East Africa Orogen, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Saudi Geological Survey Technical Record SGS-TR-2002-1

  45. Johnson PR, Andresen A, Collins AS, Fowler AR, Fritz H, Ghebreab W, Kusky T, Stern RJ (2011) Late Cryogenian-Ediacaran history of the Arabian-Nubian Shield: a review of depositional, plutonic, structural, and tectonic events in the closing stages of the northern East African Orogen. J Afr Earth Sci 61:167–232

  46. Kennedy A, Kozdroj W, Johnson PR, Kattan FH (2011). SHRIMP geochronology in the northern Arabian Shield: part III. Data acquisition 2006. Saudi Geological Survey Open-File Report SGS-OF-2007-9 (in press)

  47. Kozdroj W, Kennedy A, Kattan FH, Ziolkowska-Kozdrj M, Johnson PR (2010) New SHRIMP zircon data from the Midyan Terrane and their impact on Neoproterozoic lithostratigraphy and geotectonic evolution. Saudi Geologic Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2010-2, pp 67–75

  48. Kröner A (1984) Late Precambrian plate tectonics and orogeny: a need to redefine the term Pan-African. In: Klcrkx J, Miehot J (eds) African Geology. Tcrvuren:Musée, R. l’Afriquc, Centrale, pp 23–28

  49. Küster D (2009) Granitoid-hosted Ta mineralization in the Arabian-Nubian Shield: ore deposit types, tectono-metallogenetic setting and petrogenetic framework. Ore Geol Rev 35:68–86

  50. Loizenbauer J, Wallbrecher E, Fritz H, Neumayr P, Khudeir AA, Kloetzli U (2001) Structural geology, single zircon ages and fluid inclusion studies of the Meatiq metamorphic core complex: implications for Neoproterozoic tectonics in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Precambr Res 110(1–4):357–383

  51. Meyer S, Passchier C, Abu-Alam TS, Stüwe K (2014) A strike-slip core complex from the Najd Fault System, Arabian Shield. Terra Nova 26(5):387–394

  52. Misra AA, Bhattacharya G, Mukherjee S, Bose N (2014) Near N–S paleo-extension in the western Deccan region in India: does it link strike-slip tectonics with India-Seychelles rifting? Int J Earth Sci 103:1645–1680

  53. Mukherjee S (2011) Mineral Fish: their morphological classification, usefulness as shear sense indicators and genesis. Int J Earth Sci 100:1303–1314

  54. Mukherjee S (2013) Deformation microstructures in rocks. Springer Geochemistry/Mineralogy, Berlin, pp 1–111 (ISBN 978-3-642-25608-0)

  55. Mukherjee S (2014). Atlas of shear zone structures in meso-scale. Springer Geology, Cham, pp 1–124 (ISBN 978-3-319-0088-6)

  56. Mukherjee S (2015) Atlas of structural geology. Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 978-0-12-420152-1

  57. Mukherjee S, Bose N, Ghosh R, Dutta., Misra AA, Kumar M, Dasgupta S, Biswas T, Joshi A, Limaye M (2019) Structural geological atlas. Springer, New York (ISBN: 978-981-13-9825-4)

  58. Nehlig P, Genna A, Asfirane F (2002) A review of the Pan-African evolution of the Arabian Shield. GeoArabia 7:103–124

  59. Pallister JS, Stacey JS, Fischer LB, Premo WR (1988) Precambrian ophiolites of Arabia: geological settings, U-Pb geochronology, Pb isotope characteristics, and implications for continental accretion. Precambrian Res 38:1–54

  60. Passchier C (2010) The Al Wajh area shear zone system, northwest Saudi Arabia. Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2010-2, pp 76–77

  61. Passchier CW, Coelho S (2006) An outline of shear-sense analysis in high-grade rocks. Gondwana Res 10:66–76

  62. Passchier C, Trouw R (2005) Microtectonics, 2nd edn. Springer, Berlin, pp 128–136

  63. Passchier CW, Myers JS, Kröner A (2012) Field geology of high-grade gneiss terrains. Springer

  64. Schmidt SM (1982) Microfabric studies as indicators of deformation mechanisms and flow laws operative in Mountain Building. In: Hsii KJ (ed) Mountain Building. Academic Press, London

  65. Shalaby A, Stüwe K, Makroum F, Fritz H, Kebede T, Klötzli U (2005) The Wadi Mubarak belt, Eastern Desert of Egypt: a Neoproterozoic conjugate shear system in the Arabian-Nubian Shield. Precambr Res 136(1):27–50

  66. Simpson C, Schmid SM (1983) An evaluation of criteria to deduce the sense of movement in sheared rocks. Bull Geol Soc Am 94:1281–1288

  67. Stacey JS, Hedge CE (1984) Geochronologic and isotopic evidence for early Proterozoic crust in the eastern Arabian shield. Geology 12:310–313

  68. Stacey JS, Stoeser DB (1984) Distribution of oceanic and continental leads in the Arabian-Nubian Shield. Contrib Mineral Petrol 74:175–188

  69. Stern RJ (1981) Petrogenesis and tectonic setting of Late-Precambrian ensimatic volcanic rocks, Central Eastern Desert of Egypt. Precambrian Res 16:195–230

  70. Stern RJ (1994) Arc assembly and continental collision in the Neoproterozoic East African Orogen: implications for consolidation of Gondwanaland. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 22:319–351

  71. Stoeser DB, Camp VE (1984) Pan-African microplate accretion of the Arabian Shield, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: USGS TR-04-17

  72. Sultan M, Arvidson RE, Duncan IJ, Steren RJ, El Kaliouby B (1988) Extension of the Najd shear system from Saudi Arabia to the central Eastern Desert of Egypt based on integrated field and Landsat observations. Tectonics 7:1291–1306

  73. Sultan YM, El-Shafei MK, Khawasik S (2010) Post collisional oblique sinistral transpression: Feiran-Solaf metamorphic complex, South Sinai, Egypt. In: Sinai international conference on geology and development (SICGD 2010), p 46

  74. Takeshita T, El-Fakharani AH (2013) Coupled micro-faulting and pressure solution creep overprinted on quartz schist deformed by intracrystalline plasticity during exhumation of the Sambagawa metamorphic rocks, southwest Japan. J Struct Geol 46:142–157

  75. Tullis J, Snoke AW, Todd VR (1982) Significance and petrogenesis of mylonitic rocks. Geology 10(5):227–230

  76. Wolf MB, Saleeby JB (1992) Jurassic Cordilleran dike swarm-shear zones: implications for the Nevadan orogeny and North American plate motion. Geology 20:745–748

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was based on AlKashghari PhD dissertation presented at King Abdulaziz University (2017). The authors acknowledge with thanks King Abdulaziz University for their technical and scientific support. The authors also would like to thank the Saudi Geological Survey, for their incomparable support during field trips and for the necessary geological data afforded. We also gratefully thank and appreciate Soumyajit Mukherjee (Associate Editor) and reviewers for their valuable and constructive comments and suggestions which greatly improved the manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Abdelhamid El-Fakharani.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

El-Fakharani, A., AlKashghari, W.A., Baggazi, H.M. et al. Microstructural analyses of the Najd Fault System in Midyan Terrane, NW Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 109, 301–316 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-019-01803-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Najd Fault System
  • Midyan Terrane
  • Arabian Shield
  • Shear sense indicators
  • Ajjaj–Qazaz–Hanabiq shear zones
  • Oblique transpression