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Abstract: Tectonic Framework of Northeast Egypt and Its Bearing on Hydrocarbon Exploration

Mesbah Khalil, Adel R. Moustafa

Detailed structural study of northern and central Sinai, the northern Eastern Desert, and the northern Gulf of Suez clarified the tectonic framework of northeast Egypt. This framework is related to the movements between the African Plate and the Eurasian and Arabian Plates. Late Cretaceous folding and thrusting in response to oblique convergence between the African and Eurasian Plates formed NE-ENE oriented, doubly plunging, en echelon folds of the northern Egypt fold belt. This fold belt is well exposed in northern Sinai and a few other places but is concealed under younger sediments in the other parts of northern Egypt. Younger folding of local importance is related to dextral slip on the Themed Fault (Central Sinai) in post Middle Eocene-pre Miocene time. Early Miocene drifting of the Afro-Arabian Plate led to the opening of the Suez rift and deposition of significant syn-rift facies. Half grabens and tilted fault blocks dominate the rift. Slightly tilted fault blocks characterize the competent Middle Eocene limestones of the Eastern Desert south of the Cairo-Suez road but north of this road, Middle Eocene rocks are locally dragged on nearby E-W and NW-SE oriented faults forming fault-drag folds. Ductile Upper Eocene and Miocene rocks are also folded about gentle NW-SE oriented doubly plunging folds.

The different stages of tectonic activity in northern Egypt contributed to the development of different types of structural traps as well as different source, reservoir, and cap rocks. The sedimentary history of the region indicates well developed marine sediments of Jurassic, Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene ages. Basin development in structurally low areas provided good sites for hydrocarbon generation and maturation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France