Silurian-Holocene tectonostratigraphy of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Mohammed A. Jabir, Mohammed Y. Ali, Ahmed Abdelmaksoud, Sadoon Morad, Alessandro Decarlis

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    5 Scopus citations


    The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is located south of the Arabian Gulf and is home to several prolific oil- and gas fields. The stratigraphic column is up to 15 km thick and reflects a complex history of extensional and compressional deformation since the Silurian. Here, we integrate sizable 2D seismic reflection profiles, 3D seismic volumes, and data from over 500 exploration wells to investigate the Silurian-Holocene tectonostratigraphic framework of Abu Dhabi and the adjacent areas. Seven seismic sequences were identified from well-log properties, seismic reflection configurations, reflector geometries, and reflection terminations: Silurian, Devonian-mid-Permian, Upper Permian-Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous-Turonian, Upper Cretaceous, Paleocene-Eocene, and Oligocene-Holocene. The sequences include regional-scale unconformities that can be linked to the tectonic evolution of the Arabian Plate. Four tectonostratigraphic units were defined by distinct seismic sequences, regional stratigraphic gaps, and plate-wide tectonic settings including intracratonic, back-arc to rift margin, passive margin, and compressional phases. In addition to basins with a tectonic origin, four intrashelf basins developed in the area at various times due to a combination of climatic and eustatic variations with differential intraplate subsidence. These basins encompass important hydrocarbon habitats in the basinal and organic-rich deposits of the Upper Jurassic Diyab, Lower Cretaceous Habshan and Shuaiba, and Upper Cretaceous Shilaif formations. An improved understanding of the tectonostratigraphic framework of Abu Dhabi facilitates hydrocarbon exploration endeavors by ascertaining the hydrocarbon prospectivity of deep plays in the region.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number106279
    JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
    StatePublished - Jul 2023


    • Abu Dhabi
    • Arabian Plate
    • Intrashelf basins
    • Seismic sequences
    • Tectonostratigraphic units


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