At the end of a field trip to the Wadi as Surr quadrangle (Johnson and Trent, 1967) a few days were spent in the southern part of the adjoinning Wadi Qaraqir quadrangle in order to extend our mineral reconnaissance as far east as the Arabian Plateau. The area examine is shown by the distribution of sample localities on the accompanying map. No mineral deposits of economic interest were seen.
The terrain is one of broad plains and low hills that extend westward from the base of a prominent erosional scarp which forms the western edge of the Arabian Plateau. Streams cutting headward into the low-dipping massive sandstone of the Plateau have carved deep canyongs with vertical walls, and outliers of the sandstone are preserved as buttes and erosional forms of varied shapes.
There are no permanent settlements in the mapped areas. The one road leads up a tributary of Wadi Qaraqir to some date gardens at the base of the sandstone cliffs. A well-travelled caravan route crosses the passes at Al Khuraytah to reach the Plateau H. St. John Philby strongly recommended that a road be constructed through these passes to provide direct access from Tabuk to the Red Sea coast.
Burton (1878) was probably the first European to visit the area. He was searching for mineral deposits and he also located some Nabatcan ruins. Philby in company with R. G. Bogue, U. S. Geological Survey, explored the scarp in the Wadi Qaraqir valley and drove northwestward to Al Khuraytah pass. The geology of the Wadi Qaraqir quadrangle shown on the geologic map of the Northwestern Hijaz (Brown and others, 1963) was compiled from Bogue's work.
Our work consisted of making traverses around the hilly area and up accessible wadis. We examined the rocks along the traverse routes and visited target areas that had been selected by examination of aerial photographs. Samples of wadi sediment were collected from fault zones, granite contacts, and areas that showed some evidence of hydrothermal alteration.
The work was made possible by the cooperation fo the officials of the Directorate General of Mineral Resources, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, who arranged for vehicles and accompanying personnel. We did not have a counterpart Saudi geologist for this portion of our trip.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Mineral reconnaissance of the southern part of the Wadi Qaraqir quadrangle, Saudi Arabia