Tectonostratigraphic evolution of Enjefa’s marginal marine Holocene deposits: highlighting the final stage of Kuwait’s emergence

  • Aimen Amer
  • Mesha Al-Wadi
  • Hanan Abu-Habbial
  • Abdulaziz Sajer
Original Paper


The Enjefa Beach outcrop comprises marginal marine deposits that are scarcely studied and its facies architecture is largely unknown. With only a few outcrops left in Kuwait, this locality provides an opportunity to better understand the interaction between tectonics and sedimentary processes during the late Holocene, unraveling the final uplift and emergence of Kuwait. Detailed facies analysis revealed that Enjefa outcrop is composed of shoreface and tidal channel facies associations, stacked in a shoaling-upward sequence. One hundred forty-nine paleocurrent measurements were taken at the Enjefa and surrounding areas to understand depositional trends. 2D-structural restoration of seismic data crossing the Ahmadi Ridge was performed along with burial history analysis of a well drilled on the crest of the structure. Facies analysis revealed that the Enjefa outcrop is composed of six depositional facies. These are middle shoreface, upper shoreface, foreshore, lateral accretion, tidal channel, and channel fill/abandonment facies. It is observed that all lateral accretion packages exhibit a unidirectional northern trend. Tectonostratigraphic time-laps simulation revealed that the Ahmadi Ridge final uplift had a direct influence on the tidal channel migration patterns, resulting in a dominant northern migration direction. These results are found to correlate with other Arabian Gulf regions, indicating a regional extent of the late Holocene tectonics.


Enjefa Beach Holocene deposits of Kuwait Marginal marine facies associations Ahmadi Ridge Tectonostratigraphy Structural restoration 



The authors would like to thank Schlumberger and Kuwait Oil Company for the support they gave to this work. Special thanks go to Dr. Homoud Anzi from Saudi Aramco for his fruitful discussions and encouragement during and after our fieldwork. The authors would like to extend their gratitude to Dr. Martin Wells and Dr. Roger Davies for their review and remarkable suggestions to improve this work.


  1. Adasani M (1965) The greater Burgan field: 5th Arab petroleum Cong. Cairo, Paper 35:27Google Scholar
  2. Al-Asfour TA (1975) Changing sea-level along the north coast of Kuwait Bay. PhD Thesis, Durham UniversityGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Husseini MI (2000) Origin of the Arabian plate structures: Amar collision and Najd rift. GeoArabia, Manama, Bahrain, Vol.5: pp.527–542Google Scholar
  4. Al-Sarawi M, Al-Zamel A, Al-Rifaiy IA (1993) Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments of the Khiran area (South Kuwait). Journal-University of Kuwait. Science 20:145–145Google Scholar
  5. Amer A (2013) Heyam Al-Ammar, Abdulazziz Sajer Ali, Ali Abu Ghneej, Talal Adwani, Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Ramachandra Srigiriraju, Awni Jaradat and Refat Sharaf El din, (2013); principal displacement zone evaluation over the Jurassic section of Kra Al-Maru and Riksah areas, NW Kuwait. In: AAPG GTW-Exploring and Producing Fractured Reservoirs in the Middle East Conference and Workshop, Jordan on. pp 22–24Google Scholar
  6. Amer A (2017) New approach to modeling your reservoir: a technique based on understanding modern deposits, outcrops and well-log data. In: SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference. Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE-183692-MSGoogle Scholar
  7. Amer A, Al-Hajeri M, Najem A, Al-Qattan F (2017) New insights for Kuwait’s lower Fars Formation exposure over Jal Az-Zor Escarpment: The Importance of Linking Surface to Subsurface. Abstract present at AAPG Workshop Siliciclastic reservoirs of the middle east, 15–16 May 2017, AmmanGoogle Scholar
  8. Brennan P (1991) Raudhatain Field–Kuwait Arabian Basin. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Atlas of Oil and Gas Fields, Structural Traps, 1, p. 187–210Google Scholar
  9. Bulnes M, McClay K (1999) Benefits and limitations of different 2D algorithms used in cross-section restoration of inverted extensional faults: application to physical experiments. Tectonophysics 312:175–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carman GJ (1996) Structural elements of onshore Kuwait. Gulf PetroLink, Bahrain, GeoArabia Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 239–66Google Scholar
  11. Dunbar JA, Cook RW (2003) Palinspastic reconstruction of structure maps: an automated finite element approach with heterogeneous strain. J Struct Geol 25:1021–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Erickson SG, Strayer LM, Suppe J (2001) Mechanics of extension and inversion in the hanging walls of listric normal faults. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 106:26655–26670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fleming K, Johnston P, Zwartz D, Yokoyama Y, Lambeck K, Chappell J (1998) Refining the eustatic sea-level curve since the last glacial maximum using far-and intermediate-field sites. Earth Planet Sci Lett 163:327–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fox AF (1956) Oil occurrences in Kuwait. In: 20th international geological congress, Mexico, Symposium sobre jacimientos de petroleo y gas. pp 1–148Google Scholar
  15. Gratier J-P, Guillier B, Delorme A, Odonne F (1991) Restoration and balance of a folded and faulted surface by best-fitting of finite elements: principle and applications. J Struct Geol 13:111–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gunatilaka A (1986) Kuwait and the northern Arabian gulf-a study in quaternary sedimentation. Episodes 9:223–231Google Scholar
  17. Gunatilaka A, Mwango S (1987) Continental sabkha pans and associated nebkhas in southern Kuwait, Arabian gulf. Geol Soc Lond, Spec Publ 35:187–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gunatilaka A, Saleh A, Al-Temeemi A (1980) Plant-controlled supratidal anhydrite from Al-Khiran, Kuwait. Nature 288:257–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gunatilaka A, Saleh A, Al-Temeemi A, Nassar N (1984) Occurrence of subtidal dolomite in a hypersaline lagoon, Kuwait. Nature 311:450–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hossack JR (1979) The use of balanced cross-sections in the calculation of orogenic contraction: a review. J Geol Soc 136:705–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jordan Boersma JR (1969) Internal structure of some tidal mega-ripples on a shoal in the Westerschelde estuary, the Netherlands: Geologie & Mijnbouw, Vol. 48Google Scholar
  22. Kämpf J, Sadrinasab M (2006) The circulation of the Persian Gulf: a numerical study. Ocean Sci 2:27–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kassler P (1973) The structural and geomorphic evolution of the Persian Gulf. In: The Persian Gulf. Springer, pp 11–32Google Scholar
  24. Konert G, Afifi AM, de Groot K, Al Naim AA (1999) Paleozoic stratigraphy and hydrocarbon habitat of the Arabian plate. AAPG Bull 83Google Scholar
  25. Kreisa RD, Moila RJ (1986) Sigmoidal tidal bundles and other tide-generated sedimentary structures of the Curtis formation, Utah. Geol Soc Am Bull 97:381–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lambeck K (1996) Shoreline reconstructions for the Persian Gulf since the last glacial maximum. Earth Planet Sci Lett 142:43–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lomando AJ (1999) Structural influences on facies trends of carbonate inner ramp systems, examples from the Kuwait-Saudi Arabian coast of the Arabian Gulf and northern Yucatan, Mexico. GeoArabia 4:339–360Google Scholar
  28. Loughland RA, Al-Abdulkader KA, Wyllie A, Burwell BO (2012) Anthropogenic induced geomorphological change along the Western Arabian Gulf coast. In: Studies on environmental and applied geomorphology. InTechGoogle Scholar
  29. Milne GA, Long AJ, Bassett SE (2005) Modelling Holocene relative sea-level observations from the Caribbean and South America. Quat Sci Rev 24:1183–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Morhange C, Laborel J, Hesnard A (2001) Changes of relative sea level during the past 5000 years in the ancient harbor of Marseilles, southern France. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 166:319–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Picha F (1978) Depositional and diagenetic history of Pleistocene and Holocene oolitic sediments and sabkhas in Kuwait, Persian gulf. Sedimentology 25:427–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Picha F, Saleh A (1977) Quaternary sediments in Kuwait. J Univ Kuwait (Sci) 4:169–184Google Scholar
  33. Saleh AA (1975) Pleistocene and Holocene oolitic sediments in the Al-Khiran area, Kuwait. Unpublished M Sc thesis, University of Kuwait, KuwaitGoogle Scholar
  34. Shanti AM (2009) Geology of the Arabian shield of Saudi Arabia. Scientific publishing Centre, King Abdulaziz UniversityGoogle Scholar
  35. Sharland PR, Archer R, Casey DM et al (2001) Arabian plate sequence stratigraphy. GeoArabia, spec Publ 2, gulf PetroLink. Oriental press, Manama 371pGoogle Scholar
  36. Strohmenger CJ, Al-Anzi MS, Pevear DR, et al (2003) Reservoir quality and K-Ar age dating of the pre-Khuff section of Kuwait. GeoArabia, Manama, Bahrain, Vol 8:601–620Google Scholar
  37. Tanoli SK (2015) Sedimentological evidence for the Late Holocene sea level change at the Enjefa Beach exposures of Kuwait, NW Arabian gulf. Arab J Geosci 8:6063–6074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tanoli SK, Al-Fares A, Al-Sahlan G (2012) the Enjefa Beach exposure in Kuwait, northern gulf: evidence of Late Holocene regression. In: GEO 2012Google Scholar
  39. Terwindt JHJ (1981) Origin and sequences of sedimentary structures in inshore mesotidal deposits of the North Sea. In: Holocene marine sedimentation in the North Sea Basin. Blackwell Scientific Publications Oxford, pp 4–26Google Scholar
  40. Van den Berg JH (1982) Migration of large-scale bedforms and preservation of crossbedded sets in highly accretional parts of tidal channels in the Oosterschelde, SW Netherlands. Geologie Mijnbouw 61:253–263Google Scholar
  41. Visser MJ (1980) Neap-spring cycles reflected in Holocene subtidal large-scale bedform deposits: a preliminary note. Geology 8:543–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Warren JK (2006) Evaporites: sediments, resources and hydrocarbons. Springer Science & Business MediaGoogle Scholar
  43. Wood WW, Bailey RM, Hampton BA, Kraemer TF, Lu Z, Clark DW, James RHR, al Ramadan K (2012) Rapid late Pleistocene/Holocene uplift and coastal evolution of the southern Arabian (Persian) gulf. Quat Res 77:215–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aimen Amer
    • 1
  • Mesha Al-Wadi
    • 2
  • Hanan Abu-Habbial
    • 2
  • Abdulaziz Sajer
    • 2
  1. 1.SchlumbergerHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Kuwait Oil CompanyAl AhmadiKuwait

Personalised recommendations