Paleo-fluids characterization and fluid flow modelling along a regional transect in Northern United Arab Emirates

J.P. Callot, L. Breesch, N. Guilhaumou, F. Roure, R. Swennen, N. Vilasie

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    In the Northern Emirates, Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous platform carbonates of the Musandam parautochthonous units are tectonically overlain by siliciclastic units of the Hawasina-Sumeini allochthon, which derive from the former paleo-slope domain and a more distal basinal portion of the Arabian margin of the Tethys, respectively. All these tectonic units display numerous evidences of paleo-fluid circulations, accounting for dolomitisation and recrystallisation of the rock matrix (Musandam Platform units), as well as cementation of fractures. Polymict breccias of Upper Cretaceous Ausaq Formation which underlay the sole thrust of the Hawasina-Sumeini allochthon also record episodes of hydraulic fracturing, whereas fluid inclusion data indicate precipitation at high temperature in relation to paleo-fluid flow. Petrography of thin-sections (conventional and cathodoluminescence microscopic techniques) as well as fluid inclusion and stable isotopes analyses, were combined with micro-tectonic studies. These analytical data document (1) the paragenetic sequence of diagenetic products for the Musandam Platform (which constitutes a carbonate reservoir analogue) and Sumeini units of the Dibba Zone, as well as (2) the nature of the paleo-fluids circulating along fractures and the sole thrust of the Hawasina-Sumeini allochthon. The main results of this petrographic approach are qualitative, evidencing (1) the rapid and vertical transfer of hot fluids in the vicinity of the former slope to platform transition, accounting for episodes of hydrothermal dolomitisation, as well as (2) early (i. e. pre-orogenic) and late (i. e. post-orogenic) episodes of emersion of the carbonate units, accounting for additional interactions with meteoric fluids and karstification. In order to better link these diagenetic events with the overall burial, thermal and kinematic evolution of the Arabian margin, basin modelling with Ceres2D, including fluid flow and pore-fluid pressure modelling, was subsequently performed along a regional transect (D4) located in the vicinity of the samples localities and cross-cutting the Northern Oman Mountains from Dibba in the east up to the Arabian Gulf in the west. New subsurface constraints provided by deep seismic profiles were used to constrain the architecture of the cross-section, and to test various hypotheses on the lateral and vertical connection, timing and hydrodynamic behaviour of the faults. This Ceres basin modelling also provides new quantitative estimates of the paleo-fluid pathways, of the timing and velocities of the fluid transfers and of the evolution of pore-fluid pressures. Ultimately, this integration of petrographic studies on surface samples and coupled kinematic and fluid flow basin modelling provides an updated scenario for the succession of tectonically controlled episodes of fluid rock interactions, namely dolomitisation and karstification recorded in the Mesozoic platform carbonates of the Northern Emirates. © 2010 Saudi Society for Geosciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)413-437
    JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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