Tectonic evolution and subsidence history of the Cretaceous basins in southern Egypt: The Komombo Basin

Moamen Ali, Mohammed Y. Ali, Ahmed Abdelhady, James Derek Fairhead

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8 Scopus citations


The structure and tectonic evolution of the Cretaceous rift basins of southern Egypt are poorly understood. In this study, the tectonostratigraphy of the Komombo Basin has been determined using seismic, well and biostratigraphic data. The tectonostratigraphy of the basin is compared to the Kharit, Nuqra and Beni Suef basins in Egypt as well as Muglad Basin in Sudan. The Komombo Basin is a 58 km long, 28 km wide NW–SE trending half-graben infilled with 2200 m of Berriasian-Maastrichtian sediments and overlain by 400 m of Pliocene sediments. Four Berriasian to Maastrichtian syn-rift and post-rift sequences and three Pliocene channel systems of Nile sediments have been identified. Moreover, a series of normal faults, negative flower structures, reverse faults and folds are mapped in the basin. Backstripping reveals two rift phases during the Berriasian-Barremian and Turonian-Santonian, respectively. Additionally, the tectonic subsidence curves indicate that two major unconformities have occurred during the Aptian-Albian and Maastrichtian-Pliocene, which are correlated with a basement uplift during the Albian-Cenomanian and the Oligocene-Miocene flank uplift related to the opening of the Red Sea, respectively. The rift episodes are attributed to far-field stress changes resulting from the initial opening of the South Atlantic and followed by the NW part of the African plate colliding and anticlockwise rotating into Europe. The highest β factors (1.20–1.11) for both rift phases are found at the centre of the basin. The rift phases thinned the crust from 32.5 to 28.2 km and 31.9 km in the depocenter and the western flank of the basin. The Komombo Basin has a similar rift history, stratigraphy and structural style to the Kharit, Nuqra and Mugland basins. All of these basins witnessed two major rift phases in the Early and Late Cretaceous, whereas the Beni Suef Basin encountered strike-slip tectonic events in the Late Cretaceous.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1731-1762
Number of pages32
JournalBasin Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Cretaceous basins
  • Komombo Basin
  • seismic stratigraphy
  • southern Egypt
  • subsidence and uplift history
  • tectonic evolution


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