Impacts of the petrophysical and diagenetic aspects on the geomechanical properties of the dolomitic sequence of Gebel El-Halal, Sinai, Egypt

  • Bassem S. Nabawy
  • Ahmed Abd El Aal
Original Paper


The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the controlling effect of the mineral composition, the diagenetic history and the petrophysical properties on the geomechanical properties and durability of the dolomitic El-Halal Formation in its type section in North Sinai as well as its economic potential for construction purposes. The petrographic studies include descriptions of both the mineral composition and diagenetic processes, while the petrophysical studies measure the density, porosity, permeability and true formation resistivity factor. In addition, some geomechanical laboratory tests were conducted, including the petrographic description of the mineral composition and diagenetic processes, as well as the Schmidt Hammer number (SHV), point load index (IS50), uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), and ultrasonic longitudinal wave velocity measurements. Scanning electron microscopy was used to help in pore-type description (intergranular, vuggy, etc.). Based on lithologic changes and mineral composition, the El-Halal Formation can be subdivided into three informal members: (1) lower dolomitic limestone, (2) middle sandy dolostone and (3) upper dolostone member. Petrographically, the sequence consists of three dominant microfacies: (1) dolomitic mudstone microfacies (dolomitic micrite to dolomicrite), (2) dolowackestone (clayey to sandy dolomicrite), and (3) dolomudstone microfacies (dolosparite). The most diagnostic diagenetic processes are dolomitization, cementation by calcite, aggrading neomorphism and the creation of authigenic illite. In the study area, dolomitization has affected almost all the Cenomanian succession. The SHV, IS50, and UCS values of the samples indicate high-strength rocks. The present study indicates the dependence of the geomechanical properties on the petrophysical properties and the mineral composition of the studied rocks. Modeling the properties indicates a reliable correlation between the different parameters which can be applied for predicting and characterizing the dolomitic El-Halal Formation elsewhere. The results of the present investigation are useful for studying the geomechanical and petrophysical properties of similar dolomitic sequences and in ranking its potential as construction materials.


Lithology Petrophysical and geomechanical properties El-halal formation 



I would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments that improved and reconstructed the manuscript. Thanks are also due to the editors, Prof. Dr. Martin G. Culshaw and Prof Dr. Philip Paige-Green, whose patience and insightful suggestions have led to a concise revised version.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysical SciencesNational Research CentreCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Geology Department, Faculty of ScienceAl Azhar UniversityAssiutEgypt
  3. 3.Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of EngineeringNajran UniversityNajranSaudi Arabia

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