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ABSTRACT: Tectonic Synthesis of the Northern Arabian Platform

John R. Everett, Orville R. Russell, Ronald J. Staskowski, Susan Pataky Loyd, Veena Malhotra Tabbutt, Peter Dolan, Alan Stein, John Scott

The creation and destruction of Tethys oceans from the early Mesozoic to the present has created a complex suture zone along the Zagros/Bitlus trend. The fundamental interactions are between the Arabian and Euasian plates, hat several microplates trapped between the major plates further complicate the tectonic fabric of the region. On the west, the Arabian plate slides past the African plate and the Sinai microplate along the Levant fault. The Palmyrides are related to a bend in this plate boundary and are not an offset extension of the Syrian arc. As Arabia penetrates Eurasia, the Anatolian block is escaping to the west along the northern (right-lateral) and eastern (left-lateral) faults. Convergence of the Eurasian and Arabian plates resulted in ophiolite abduction (Lat Cretaceous), followed by continent-continent collision (Miocene to present). The zone of collision is marked by the Bitlis-Zagrosa suture. Structural features associated with the collision include overthrusting, impactogens, and complexly folded and faulted mountain systems. Intensity and complexity of structuring decreases southward into open long-wavelength folds on the Arabian Platform. The fortuitous combination of. rich source rocks, abundant reservoir rocks with primary and fracture porosity, and numerous trapping structures make this an extraordinary prolific hydrocarbon province.

A structural and lithologic interpretation of 53 contiguous Landsat Multispectral Scanner scenes covering all of Syria, Iraq, and Kuwait, and portions of Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia has provided insights into the tectonic history of this area and its hydrocarbon accumulation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990