Geology of the Precambrian rocks of the Jabal Habashi Quadrangle, sheet 26F, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Open-File Report 85-3

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The Jabal Habashi quadrangle contains formations of Lower Paleozoic and Cenozoic age, unconformably overlying part of the Precambrian Arabian Shield. The Precambrian formations include metamorphosed and strongly deformed volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks and plutons of calc-alkalic, mafic to intermediate composition, dated at about 645 Ma. These are unconformably overlain by the Maraghan formation of the Murdama group, composed of sandstone and siltstone deposited in a vast sedimentary basin present in the region between about 640 to 620 Ma. On the northwestern margin of this large basin, a smaller, fault-controlled basin was filled by the Hibshi formation, a sequence of conglomerate, sandstones, tuffs and minor lava flows, which dates from 632 Ma. Other volcanic rocks from this period probably accumulated around caldera-like volcanoes.

The deposition of the Maraghan and Hibshi formations was interrupted by moderate deformation and metamorphism. About 617 Ma ago, the region was intruded by many granodiorite, granite and subordinate gabbro, diorite and peralkaline granite plutons. Gold-bearing quartz veins formed as a result of this intrusive event.

A gap in the geologic record of nearly 40 Ma followed, ended by the emplacement of more evolved syenogranite and alkali-feldspar granite plutons. Hydrothermal alteration of one of these granites led to the formation of tin greisen; other granites contain anomalous amounts of rare-earth elements.

The stable rock mass created by these geologic processes was extensively eroded at the end of the Precambrian, and was subsequently covered by flat-lying Lower Paleozoic clastic rocks, the Saq Sandstone of Cambrian (?) to early Ordovician age, and the Tabuk Formation, largely siltstone and claystone, of early Ordovician to early Silurian age. Another major gap in the record, extending from the early Paleozoic to late Cenozoic, ended by the extrusion of basaltic lava flows and cinder cones in the northern part of the quadrangle, about 1.8 Ma ago. The volcanic activity, preceded by tilting of the region and the stripping back of the Paleozoic rocks to expose the Precambrian again, was linked to rifting in the Arabian Shield and the opening of the Red Sea.

The final event in the quadrangle was the onset of the present-day type of climate and erosion pattern, leading to the development of drainage channels partly filled by sand and small sabkhah deposits, and surfaces covered by recently cemented gravels.    

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USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the Precambrian rocks of the Jabal Habashi Quadrangle, sheet 26F, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Series title:
Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Report: iv, 87 p., ill.; Maps: 28 cm.
Saudi Arabia
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