, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 271–282 | Cite as

Structural evolution history of the Red Sea Rift

  • G. A. F. d’AlmeidaEmail author


The Red Sea Rift has been an object of comprehensive studies by several generations of geologists and geophysicists. Many publications and open-file reports provide insights into the geological history of this rift. Paleogene and Cretaceous rocks, which are considered to be prerift, are locally exposed at the margins of the Red Sea Rift. At the same time, some evidence indicates that at least some of these rocks are related to the early stage of the evolution of the Red Sea Rift. The available geological data suggest that the Red Sea region started its active evolution in the Cretaceous. As follows from lithostratigraphic data, the Cretaceous-Paleogene trough that predated the Oligocene-Quaternary rift covered this region completely or partially. The pre-Oligocene magmatism and geological evidence show that the Cretaceous-Paleogene trough was of the rift type. The Cretaceous-Eocene and Oligocene-Quaternary phases of rifting were separated by an epoch of uplifting and denudation documented by the erosion surface and unconformity.


Cretaceous Miocene Oligocene Evaporite Paleogene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G. A. F. d’Almeida, Late Phanerozoic Rift Systems of the African-Arabian Region (Structural Forms and Evolution), Candidate’s Dissertation in Geology and Mineralogy (Moscow, 2000).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    V. G. Kazmin, Rifts Structures of East Africa: Breakup of Continents and Origin of Ocean (Nauka, Moscow, 1987) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. E. Milanovsky, Rift Zones of Continents (Nedra, Moscow, 1976) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. M. Nikishin, “Tectonics, Geodynamics, and Paleosettings of Sedimentary Basin Formation, in Geohistorical and Geodynamic Analysis of Sedimentary basins (Geokart, Moscow, 1999), Pt. III, pp. 331–493 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Yu. M. Pushcharovsky, “Tectonics and Geodynamics of the Earth’s Mantle,” in Basic Problems of General Tectonics (Nauchnyi Mir, Moscow, 2001), pp. 10–32 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    A. V. Razvalyaev, Continental Rifting and Its Prehistoty (Nedra, Moscow, 1988) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    N. S. Skripchenko, “Sedimentation and Differentiation of Ore Muds in the Atlantis II Deep, the Red Sea,” Geol. Rudn. Mestorozhd. 25(1), 13–23 (1983).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    M. Y. Ali, “Hydrocarbon Potential of the Somaliland,” First Break 24, 49–51 (2006).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    D. L. Anderson, Y. S. Zhang, and T. Tanimoto, “Plume Heads, Continental Lithosphere, Flood Basalts and Tomography,” in Magmatism and the Causes of Continental Breakup (Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 1992), Vol. 68, pp. 99–124.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    M. Babiker and A. Gudmundsson, “Geometry, Structure and Emplacement of Mafic Dykes in the Red Sea Hills, Sudan,” J. African Earth Sci. 38, 279–292 (2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Z. R. Beydoun, “Arabian Plate Hydrocarbon Geology and Potential: a Plate Tectonic Approach,” AAPG Studies in Geology 33, 1–77 (1991).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    G. Boillot and C. Coulon, La déchirure continentale et l’ouverture océanique (Gordon and Breach, New York, 1998).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    W. Bosworth, P. Huchon, and K. McClay, “The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Basins,” J. African Earth Sci. 43, 334–378 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    G. F. Brown, “Eastern Margin of the Red Sea and Coastal Structures in Saudi Arabia,” Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London A267, 75–87 (1970).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    M. A. G. Bunter and E. M. Abdel Magid, “New Developments in the Stratigraphy and the Tectonic-Paleographic Evolution of the Sudanese Red Sea and New Recognition of Prospective Trap Styles,” in Robertson Research (1987), pp. 75–89.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    R. Carella and N. Scarpa, “Geological Results of Exploration in Sudan by AGIP Mineraria,” in Proceedings of the 4th Arabian Petroleum Congress (Beirut, 1962), pp. 5–12.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    A. Daradich, J. X. Mitrovica, R. N. Pysklywec, et al., “Mantle Flow, Dynamic Topography, and Rift-Flank Uplift of Arabia,” Geology 31(10), 901–904 (2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    C. Doglioni, E. Carminati, and E. Bonatti, “Rift Asymmetry and Continental Uplift,” Tectonics 22(3) (2003).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    J. D. Fairhead, “Crustal Structure of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea,” Tectonophysics 20(1/4), 203–211 (1973).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    R. W. Girdler and M. Underwood, “The Evolution of Early Oceanic Lithosphere in the Southern Red Sea,” Tectonophysics 116, 95–108 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    R. W. Girdler, “Problems Concerning the Evolution of Oceanic Lithosphere in the Northern Red Sea,” Tectonophysics 116, 109–122 (1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    R. Karpoff, “Sur l’existence du Maastrichtien au Nord de Djeddah (Arabie Saoudite),” Compte Rendu 245(2), 1322–1324 (1967).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    S. M. Khalil and K. R. McClay, “Extensional Fault-Related Folding, Northwestern Read Sea, Egypt,” J. Struct. Geol. 24, 743–762 (2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    J. R. Lancelot and D. Bosch, “A Pan-African Age for the HP-HT Granulite Gneisses of Zabargad Island: Implications for the Early Stages of the Red Sea Rifting,” Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 107, 539–549 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    S. J. Lindquist, The Red Sea Basin Province: Sudr-Nubia and Maqna Petroleum Systems,” USGS World Energy Project (Denver, 1998).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    T. M. Mahran, “Late Oligocene Lacustrine Deposition of the Sodmin Formation, Abu Hammad Basin, Read Sea, Egypt: Sedimentology and Factors Controlling Palustrine Carbonates,” J. African Earth Sci. 29(3), 567–592 (1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. Makris and R. Rihm, “Shear-Controlled Evolution of the Red Sea: Pull-Apart Model,” in Proceedings of the 15th Coll. Afr. Geol. (Univ. Nancy, 1990), p. 155.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    I. Marzouk and V. Makris, “Deep Seismic Profiles in Egypt,” Bull. Intern. Inst. Seism. 24, 1–40 (1989).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    K. McCaffrey, Y. El Kazzaz, and B. Holdsworth, “Basement Structural Control on Cretaceous Pull-Apart Basins of the Central Eastern Egypt Desert,” Eos Trans. AGU Fall Meeting Suppl. 87(52), Abstract T31D-0482 (2006).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    C. Montenat and B. H. Purser, “Le rift de Suez et la Mer Rouge nord-occidentale: sédimentation et évolution tectoniques Néogénes,” in Dynamique et méthodes d’étude des basins sédimentaires (1989), pp. 197–225.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    A. Nicolas, F. Boudier, and R. Montiguy, “Structure of Zabargad Island and Early Rifting of the Red Sea,” J. Geophys. Res. 92(1B), 451–474 (1987).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    G. Pouit, “Correlative Evolution of Mineralization and Geotectonic Setting: Examples of the Ophiolitic Crust and Red Sea Rift,” in Proceedings of the 7th Quadr. IAGDD Symp. (Lulea, 1986), p. 121.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    R. Rihm, J. Makris, and L. Moller, “Seismic Surveys in the Northern Red Sea: Asymmetric Crustal Structure,” in Proceedings of the 15th Coll. Afr. Geol. (Univ. Nancy, 1990), p. 158.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    J. J. W. Rogers, M. E. Dabbach, B. M. Witting, and J. Y. A. Widman, “Subsidence and Origin of the Northern Red Sea and Gulf of Suez,” African J. Earth Sci. 8(2/4), 617–629 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    D. H. Swartz and D. D. Arden, Jr., “Geologic History of the Red Sea Area,” Bull. AAPG 44(10), 1621–1637 (1960).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    E. Szymanski, D. Stockli, P. Johnson, et al., “Spatial and Temporal Strain Distribution Along the Central Red Sea Rift—a Study of the Hamd-Jizil Basin in Saudi Arabia,” EOS Trans. AGU Fall Meeting Suppl. 87(52), Abstract T31D-0485 (2006).Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    M. Taviani, E. Bonatti, P. Colautoni, and P. L. Rossi, “Tectonically Uplifted Crustal Blocks in the Northen Red Sea: Data from the Brothers Islets,” Mem. Soc. Geol. Ital. 27, 47–50 (1984).Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    J. R. Vail, “The Dyke Swarms of the North-Eastern Sudan,” in Geoscience Researches in Northeast Africa (Balkema, Rotterdam, 1993), pp. 127–131.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    W. Voggenreiter and H. Hottzl, “Kinematic Evolution of Southwestern Arabian Continental Margin: Implications for the Origin of the Red Sea,” J. African Earth Sci. 8(2/4), 541–564 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Russian State Geological Prospecting UniversityMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations