Diagenesis of the Khuff Formation (Permian-Triassic), Northern United Arab Emirates

Simone Fontana, Fadi H. Nader, Sadoon Morad, Andrea Ceriani, Ihsan S. Al-Aasm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This diagenetic study (including fieldwork, pétrographie, fluid inclusion, and stable isotope investigations) deals with the outcrop of Upper Permian-Lower Triassic carbonate rocks, which are equivalent to the Khuff Formation. The studied succession, which outcrops in the Ras A1 Khaimah region, northern United Arab Emirates, comprises three formations, including the Bih, the Hagil, and the Ghail formations. The study focuses on unraveling the conditions and fluid compositions encountered during diagenesis of the succession. Emphasize is also made on linking diagenesis to major stratigraphie surfaces and to highlight reservoir property evolution and heterogeneity of the studied. The evolution of fluids and related diagenetic products can be summarized as follows: (1) formation of near-surface to shallow burial, fine-crystalline dolomite (dolomite matrix) through pervasive dolomitization of carbonate sediments by modified marine pore waters; (2) formation of coarse- crystalline dolomite cement by highly evolved marine pore waters (13-23 wt.% NaCl eq.) at elevated temperatures (120-208°C), and (3) calcite cementation by highly saline fluid (20-23 wt.% NaCl eq.) at high temperature (170-212°C). A final calcite cement generation has been formed by the percolation of meteoric fluids during uplift. Fracture- and vug-filling diagenetic minerals are mainly restricted to the mid-Bih breccia marker level, suggesting preferential focused fluid flow through specific stratigraphie surfaces as well as along tectonic-related structures. Reservoir properties have been evolved as result of the interplay of the original sedimentary texture and the diagenetic evolution. Porosity is higher in the Bih Formation, which is dominated by dolomitized packstones and grainstones, than in the Hagil and Ghail formations, consisting mainly of dolomitized mudstones and wackestones. Image analyses were used to quantify the visual porosity in thin sections. The highest porosity values were measured in the Bih Formation, which is characterized by significant amounts of vug- and fracture-filling cements. This feature is attributed to the increase of porosity owing to substantial dissolution of abundant intergranular and vug-filling cements. In contrast, the Hagil and Ghail formations, which consist of finer-grained rock than the Bih Formation, were less cemented, and thus, the porosity enhancement by cement dissolution was insignificant.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationLithosphere Dynamics and Sedimentary Basins
Subtitle of host publicationThe Arabian Plate and Analogues
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Earth Sciences
ISSN (Print)1863-4621
ISSN (Electronic)1863-463X


  • Carbonate diagenesis
  • Fluid inclusions
  • Khuff formation
  • Mid-bih breccia
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • References
  • United arab emirates


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