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This area includes three of the main tectonic units of the Arabian Shield: the Afif continental terrain, the Nabitah suture with its associated mobile belt, and the Asir ensimatic arc terrain. U/Pb zircon data from a pelitic garnet-sillimanite gneiss show that the Kabib formation in the S of the Afif terrain may be as old as 1770 m.y. Pb and Rb/Sr isotopic data in the Zalm region reveal a change in the nature of the underlying crust, from continental basement in the NE to less radiogenic marginal arc rocks in the SW. Miogeosynclinal continental shelf facies of the Siham group lie unconformably over the Kabid formation. U/Pb zircon age determinations show that this 'Andean' continental margin developed before approx 720 m.y. and the emplacement of calc-alkaline plutonic rocks continued until approx 690 m.y. During the period 685-640 m.y. the continental Afif microplate collided with the Asir terrain as part of the Nabitah orogeny. At approx 640 m.y. age the Najd strike-slip faulting commenced, with a dextral phase that controlled emplacement of granite plutons as well as the development of large pull-apart grabens. Some of the latter were floored by new oceanic crust and filled with volcanosedimentary rocks of the Bani Ghayy group.-R.A.H.
Additional Publication Details
U-Pb isotopic evidence for the accretion of a continental microplate in the Zalm region of the Saudi Arabian Shield.