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Geotectonic significance of the Neoproterozoic ophiolitic metagabbros of Muiswirab area, South Eastern Desert, Egypt: constraints from their mineralogical and geochemical characteristics


Petrological and geochemical studies of Neoproterozoic metagabbros were carried out in the Muiswirab area, South Eastern Desert of Egypt. The Muiswirab area comprises of ophiolitic metagabbroic rocks (MOM), which are tectonically thrusted over a thick pile of metavolcanic rocks and intruded by syn- and post-tectonic granitoid rocks. The whole-rock geochemical variations coupled with chemical compositions of mineral constituents are used to attain the genesis and tectonic evolution of the studied metagabbros. The geothermobarometric investigation of the analyzed amphiboles from (MOM) revealed that these metagabbros underwent regional metamorphism under lower to upper greenschist facies (biotite zone) conditions (at a temperature of 450 to 500 °C and pressure of 1–3 kbar). Geochemically, the metagabbros (MOM) show tholeiitic affinity and exhibiting both arc- and MORB- like characters as evidenced by their clinopyroxene compositions and the Ti/V ratios (11.84–31.65), which considered as prominent features of forearc tectonic regime. The geochemical features suggest a probable fractionation of olivine ± clinopyroxene ± plagioclase as well as insignificant crustal contamination. The parental magma of the investigated MOM rocks seems to be developed in a sub-arc mantle wedge setting due to the enrichments of LILE (e.g., Rb, Ba, Sr, Pb) over HFSE (e.g., Ti, Nb, Y, Zr, Hf, Ta). The studied MOM rocks have lower values of Nb/U relative to MORB and OIB indicating that their geochemical variation produced due to the enrichment of a lithosphere mantle by OIB-like components. The ratios of Zn/Fet, La/Sm, Sm/Yb, Th/Yb and Nb/Yb indicate that the MOM rocks represent a fragment of oceanic crust originated at a supra-subduction zone environment and their parental magma developed by 5–30 % partial melting of a spinel lherzolite mantle rather than pyroxenite in an island arc setting and conformable with most of the Egyptian ophiolitic metagabbros.

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We express our deep thanks and gratitude to Dr. Galina M. Vovna, Far Eastern Geologic Institute, Russia, for the laboratory facilities and accommodates during the post-doctoral scholarship for the author. Many thanks for Dr. Karabtsov A. Alexandrovich and Ekimova N. Ivanovna (Far Eastern Geologic Institute, Russia), for their help and technical support with the electron microprobe analyses and thin-section preparation. Many thanks to Dr. Abd El Aziem Mehanna for his valuable recommendation and suggestion. Thanks to Dr. Mohammed M. Afife for his help in the field trips. The authors would like to express their deep thanks to editorial team Acta Geochimica, anonymous reviewers and Professor Chuan-Lin Zhang for their efforts, critical comments and constructive reviews that substantially improved the early version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Moustafa M. Mogahed.

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Mogahed, M.M., Saad, W.M. Geotectonic significance of the Neoproterozoic ophiolitic metagabbros of Muiswirab area, South Eastern Desert, Egypt: constraints from their mineralogical and geochemical characteristics. Acta Geochim (2020).

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  • Egypt
  • Eastern Desert
  • Muiswirab area
  • Ophiolitic metagabbros
  • N-MORB
  • Arc tholeiites
  • Forearc tectonic regime
  • Volcanic-arc setting