Upper Cretaceous wedge-top to foredeep architecture in the United Arab Emirates: Insights from the Faiyah Anticline

Ibrahim Q. Mohammed, Sherif Farouk, Fadhil A. Lawa, Mohammad Alsuwaidi, Sadoon Morad

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Facies architecture and benthic foraminiferal biostratigraphy were interpreted to reconstruct the depositional environments of the Upper Campanian–Maastrichtian Qahlah and Simsima formations in the Faiyah Anticline Range, north-central United Arab Emirates. Obduction of the Oman ophiolite controlled the palaeo-configuration of the Upper Cretaceous deposits and resulted in an irregular palaeogeography which caused rapid lateral and vertical facies changes and the building up of 19 types of facies. The Qahlah Formation was deposited dominantly as an inner clastic wedge facies association containing alluvial fan, alluvial plain, and proximal shallow marine mass- flow deposits. The Simsima Formation is represented by deposits characteristic of variable settings, including intertidal, restricted lagoon, inner edge shallow platform, and forereef shelf that formed in the outer carbonate wedge. Towards the southwest of the Faiyah Anticline Range, the Simsima Formation exhibits distal turbidites and contains remobilized carbonate conglomerates and marl that were deposited in a foredeep environment. This lateral variation has been caused by tectonics associated with increased global sea level. A tectonically-driven long-time hiatus caused the absence of Danian age strata. From the sequence stratigraphic perspective, three forced sequence boundaries are reported within the Upper Campanian–Maastrichtian successions. This sequence boundaries match well with those documented from the entire Arabian Plate.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)2602-2624
Number of pages23
JournalGeological Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • facies associations
  • Foreland Basin
  • larger benthic foraminifera
  • Maastrichtian
  • United Arab Emirates


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