Structure of the northern Oman mountains from the semail ophiolite to the foreland basin

D. J.W. Cooper, M. Y. Ali, M. P. Searle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The northern Oman Mountains record the Late Cretaceous emplacement of the Semail Ophiolite and associated subduction trench and deeper-water sediments into a foredeep on the downwarped Arabian continental margin. In-sequence piggy-back thrusting was modified by later thrust sheets of Permian-Mesozoic continental slope sediments that breached the overlying allochthonous stack. Sections through these culminations show asymmetries linked to deep-seated faults perpendicular to the margin edge which created offsets (promontories) that influenced detachment. Seismic profiles across the foredeep indicate an unconformity at the top of the Mesozoic carbonate platform, the product of early flexural uplift, onlapped by sediments. A second onlap phase is linked with rapid subsidence during final emplacement of the allochthon. Passive margin conditions resumed during Maastrichtian time, conformable along the axis of the foredeep. A Paleocene-Eocene (Pabdeh) foredeep was initiated in the northern mountains, recorded on seismic profiles with another onlapping sequence. Subsidence and infill persisted into the Oligocene when compression, linked with the Zagros collision, resulted in uplift and en echelon folding, probably due to the reactivation of deep-seated faults. Post-Miocene erosion of one culmination exposed the cap of a gypsum/anhydrite intrusion. The origin remains uncertain, but derivation from the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian Ara Group salt is preferred.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)129-153
Number of pages25
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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