Optical examination employing transmitted light and UV-fluorescence microscopy of palynological preparations of eighteen cutting samples representing the Alam El Bueib Member (Hautervian-Barremian), Kharita/lower Bahariya (Cenomanian), and Abu Roash (Turonian-Santonian) formations collected from the Faghur Hj5-1 well, north Western Desert, Egypt, allows the identification of three different palynological assemblages from the studied rock units. These assemblages are mainly non-marine but apparently marine at the base of the Alam El Bueib Member, as evidenced by dinocyst occurrence. In addition, the presence of the Pediastrum and chlorophycean algae ecozone, recognised in previous works, is a good datum for the Abu Roash Formation in the north Western Desert of Egypt. Three associations of palynofacies linked to lithofacies changes are recognised and employed in identification of depositional environments. The Alam El Bueib samples yielded mixed kerogen assemblages of non-marine and marine organic facies. The Kharita/lower Bahariya interval is mostly barren, possibly due to prevailing sandstone lithofacies, except for one sample at its upper part which contains a diverse palynological assemblage. The overlying Abu Roash Formation has a homogeneous kerogen composition comprising mainly granular fluorescent AOM and algae as well as rare palynomorphs. Qualitative as well as quantitative variations of palynofacies allow the reconstruction of the depositional environment. The obtained data have the potential for discriminating spatial and redox status differences and providing also information about terrestrial/freshwater influxes. Results support the model that the Alam El Bueib Member was deposited in a marginal dysoxic-anoxic to distal suboxic-anoxic basin. The Kharita/lower Bahariya unit in the studied well was deposited under marginal dysoxic-anoxic conditions whereas the overlying Abu Roash Formation in a distal suboxic-anoxic basin. Palynofacies results also show that the studied material comprises two distinct facies of kerogen. First, Type II > I kerogen (AOM-rich) is overwhelmingly dominant in the Abu Roash Formation and a few samples from the Alam El Bueib Member which are presumed highly oil-prone, whereas Type III kerogen (phytoclast-rich) is particularly common in the Alam El Bueib Member and Kharita/lower Bahariya unit which are considered gas-prone. Thermal maturity determinations obtained from colour changes of smooth-walled palynomorphs reveal that Alam El Bueib samples belong to immature to mature stages; however, Kharita/lower Bahariya and Abu Roash samples are within the immature phase.
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The author is indebted to Prof. Maher El-Soughier (Aswan University) and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) for providing the samples and well log for this study. Dr. Rainer Brocke is gratefully acknowledged for running the fluorescence investigation of palynofacies samples and Prof. Alan Lord for improving the English of the manuscript. The author wishes to thank Mercedes di Pasquo, an anonymous reviewer and guest-editors Angela Bruch, Dieter Uhl, and Torsten Utescher for their insightful comments and constructive criticism as well as for their invitation to contribute to this special issue.
The author acknowledges financial support by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (EGY-1190326-GF-P).
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This article is a contribution to the special issue “Palaeobotanical contributions in honour of Volker Mosbrugger”
List of the recorded palynomorph taxa (arranged alphabetically), Faghur Hj5–1 well, Western Desert, Egypt.
I. Spores and pollen
I.I. Pteridophyte and bryophyte spores
Aequitriradites spinulosus (Cookson and Dettmann) Cookson and Dettmann 1961
Cibotiumspora jurienensis (Balme) Filatoff 1975
Crybelosporites pannuceus (Brenner) Srivastava 1977
Cyathidites australis Couper 1953
Duplexisporites generalis Deak 1962
Gabonisporis vigourouxii Boltenhagen 1967
Gleicheniidites senonicus Ross 1949
Murospora florida (Balme) Pocock 1961
Afropollis aff. jardinus Doyle et al. 1982
Afropollis jardinus (Brenner) Doyle et al. 1982
Afropollis kahramanensis Ibrahim and Schrank 1995
Afropollis operculatus Doyle et al. 1982
Araucariacites australis Cookson 1947
Balmeiopsis limbatus (Balme) Archangelsky 1977
Circulina parva Brenner 1963
Classopollis brasiliensis Herngreen 1975
Classopollis classoides Pflug 1953
Clavatipollenites hughesii Couper 1958
Dicheiropollis etruscus Trevisan 1972
Droseridites senonicus Jardiné and Magloire 1965
Ephedripites jansonii (Pocock) Muller 1968
Equisetosporites ambiguus (Hedlund) Singh 1983
Foveotricolpites giganteus (Jardiné and Magloire 1965) Jan Du Chéne et al. 1978
Foveotricolpites gigantoreticulatus (Jardiné and Magloire 1965) Schrank 1987
Integritetradites porosus Schrank and Mahmoud 2000
Tucanopollis crisopolensis Regali 1989
II.Green and blue-green algae
Microforaminiferal test linings
IV. Dinoflagellate cysts
Coronifera oceanica (Cookson and Eisenack) May 1980
Cribroperidinium edwardsii (Cookson and Eisenack) Davey 1969
Cribroperidinum orthoceras (Eisenack) Davey 1969
Odontochitina operculata Deflandre and Cookson 1955
Trichodinium castanea (Deflandre) Clarke and Verdier 1967
Xiphophoridium alatum (Cookson and Eisenack) Sarjeant 1966
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El Atfy, H. Palynofacies as a palaeoenvironment and hydrocarbon source potential assessment tool: An example from the Cretaceous of north Western Desert, Egypt. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 101, 35–50 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-020-00474-9
- North Western Desert