Potential Heavy Mineral-Enriched Black Sand Deposits South Ras Banas Red Sea Coast (Egypt)
The Red Sea Coast in the southernmost part of Egypt is characterized with an early geological history of erosion and sediment transportation through a remarkably long and wide paleo-channel. Several alluvial deposits rich in economic heavy minerals have been identified along the coastal strip lying between Ras Banas and the Sudaniese border. Accumulations of heavy minerals have been observed along the Red Sea beaches sited at Ras Manazel, Khudaa, Shalateen and Wadi Diit. These deposits have been formed not only by transport processes related to the Red Sea offshore currents, but also by the drainage networks operating in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Satellite imagery of the drainage networks indicates that the granites of the Sudanese highlands are the source origin of these minerals, with minor input from granites in the southern Egyptian highlands. Inland deposits emanating from the Red Sea current coastline have been formed before the opening of the Red Sea, and subsequent erosion and reworking through flash flooding and other catastrophic transport mechanisms has created more recent deposits along the current coastline. The deposits lying across the study area prove to contain ilmenite, magnetite, rutile, garnet, zircon and monazite, along with some radioactive minerals such as thorite with traces of gold. These mineral compositions are of high quality and match with those related to the granites persisting in Sudan and southern Egypt, as observed through the satellite imagery. The mineral concentrations and compositions appear to reflect the ilmenite granite series of Sudan and the magnetite granite series of the Egyptian Eastern Desert as derivative resources.
KeywordsRed sea fans Flash flooding Weathering Transportation Black sand Economic mineral resources
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