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Reconnaissance geology of the Jabal Bitran quadrangle, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Open-File Report 72-204

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Abstract

The Jabal Bitten quadrangle covers an area of 2833 sq km in the eastern part of the Precambrian Shield in Saudi Arabia. The rocks in the quadrangle are divided geographically alone arcuate north-trending lines into an eastern area of granite intruded by a swarm of dikes of rhyolite and andesite, and a western area of dominantly pelitic chlorite-sericite schist, separated by the narrow central complex of the Idsas Range. This complex is composed of pyroclastic rocks, lava, conglomerate, marble, and plutonic mafic rocks that have been intricately modified by episodes of metamorphism, igneous intrusion, and faulting. The Idsas Range contains ancient gold and copper mines, and deposits of magnetite, copper, asbestos, and chromite. The rocks in the Jabal Bitten quadrangle are here interpreted to consist of three major sedimentary and volcanic groups, the lowermost of which was deposited unconformably on hornblende-biotite granite gneiss, and all of which are intruded by granite dikes and plutons. From oldest to youngest the layered rocks are called Halaban Group, Bi'r Khountina Group, and Murdama Group, A biotite-hornblende granite is older than uppermost Bi'r Khountina, and peralkalic granite is younger than Murdama. The layered rocks of these groups are generally metamorphosed to the greenschist facies. The metamorphic grade rises abruptly at the Idsas Range to the albite-epidote-amphibolite facies and lower subfacies of the amphibolite facies in parts of the Halaban Group; some skarn east of the range may be in the upper part of the amphibolite facies. Characteristically, the Halaban Group has the highest grade and the greatest range in metamorphic grade, and the Murdama Group has the lowest but most uniformly developed metamorphic grade. The metamorphism of the rocks was caused by three successive pulses of regional dynamothermal metamorphism plus contact metamorphism around the younger bodies of plutonic igneous rocks. Four major structural elements of the quadrangle are reflected in the geography and geologic units. These are a mantled gneiss dome on the east separated from a north-plunging synclinorium in rocks of the Murdama and Bi?r Khountina Groups on the west by a narrow dejective zone of the Halaban and lower Bi?r Khountina. The dejective zone is much modified by impricate overthrusts and accompanying tear faults. These major faults have pushed elements of the Halaban and Bi?r Khountina westward over Bi?r Khountina and Murdama, with the result that very complex fault patterns have evolved. Open geochemical reconnaissance of the area disclosed one positive anomaly for nickel and 40 threshold indications of several elements, principally nickel, chromium, copper, and tungsten. Heavy-mineral and radiometric reconnaissance showed 18 areas containing scheelite and/or powellite and four areas of anomalous radioactivity. Most of these features are in the dejective zone, as are five of the nine ancient workings, the massive and disseminated magnetite, most of the secondary copper minerals, and the traces of asbestos, magnesite, and chromite known in the quadrangle. The mantled gneiss dome and a complex of gabbro and amphibolite on its southwestern flank are the next most mineralized areas. Scant evidence of mineralization is present in the Murdama Group west of the dejective zone. Magnetite deposits at Jabal Idsas have the greatest potential of the mineral deposits in the Jabal Bitran quadrangle. Further study of gold at Fawara and Selib mines is recommended, as is investigation of a positive nickel anomaly that shows threshold cobalt and above background radioactivity. The garnetiferous skarn in the east-central part of the quadrangle should be examined for composition and abrasive character of the garnet and for the remote possibility of tungsten in scheelite and beryllium in helvite.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reconnaissance geology of the Jabal Bitran quadrangle, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
72-204
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1972
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey],
Description:
iii, 70 leaves :ill. (some col.), folded map ;28 cm.; 1 sheet