A-type granite and the Red Sea opening


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Miocene-Oligocene A-type granite intrudes the eastern side of the Red Sea margin within the zone of extension from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia south to Yemen. The intrusions developed in the early stages of continental extension as Arabia began to move slowly away from Africa (around 30-20 Ma). Within the narrow zone of extension silicic magmas formed dikes, sills, small plutons and extrusive equivalents. In the Jabal Tirf area of Saudi Arabia these rocks occur in an elongate zone consisting of late Precambrian basement to the east, which is gradually invaded by mafic dikes. The number of dikes increases westward until an igneous complex is produced parallel to the present Red Sea axis. The Jabal Tirf igneous complex consists of diabase and rhyolite-granophyre sills (20-24 Ma). Although these are intrusine intrusive rocks their textures indicate shallow depths of intrusion (< 1 km). To the south, in the Yemen, contemporaneous with alkali basaltic eruptions (26-30 Ma) and later silicic eruptions, small plutons, dikes, and stocks of alkali granite invaded thick (1500 m) volcanic series, at various levels and times. Erosion within the uplifted margin of Yemen suggests that the maximum depth of intrusion was less than 1-2 km. Granophyric intrusions (20-30 Ma) within mafic dike swarms similar to the Jabal Tirf complex are present along the western edge of the Yemen volcanic plateau, marking a north-south zone of continental extension. The alkali granites of Yemen consist primarily of perthitic feldspar and quartz with some minor alkali amphiboles and acmite. These granites represent water-poor, hypersolvus magmas generated from parent alkali basalt magmas. The granophyric, two-feldspar granites associated with the mafic dike swarms and layered gabbros formed by fractional crystallization from tholeiitic basalt parent developed in the early stages of extension. Initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios of these rocks and their bulk chemistry indicate that production of peralkaline and metaluminous granitic magmas involved both fractio??nation and partial melting as they ascended through the late Precambrian crust of the Arabian plate. ?? 1992.

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A-type granite and the Red Sea opening
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