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Rift Architecture and Evolution: The Sirt Basin, Libya

Abdunaser, Khalifa M.*1; McCaffrey, Ken 1
(1) Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom.

Abstract The Cretaceous-Tertiary northwest-trending Sirt Basin system, Libya is a rift/sag basin formed on Pan-African to Paleozoic-aged basement of North Africa. In this study, we investigate the rift-basin architecture and tectonic framework of the western Sirt Basin. Using remote sensed data, supported by borehole data from about 300 deep wells and surface geologic maps, we constructed geological cross sections and surface geology maps.

We recognize six lithostratigraphic sequences (phases) in the area's stratigraphic framework. A Pre-graben (Pre-rift) initiation stage involved the Pre-Cretaceous sediments formed before the main Sirt Basin subsidence.. Then followed a Cretaceous to Eocene graben-fill stage that can divided into four structurally-active and structurally-inactive periods, and finally a terminal continental silicate-rich package representing the post-rift stage of the development in post-Eocene time.

In general five major fault systems dissect the study area into geomorphological elevated blocks and depressions. Most of the oil fields present in the study area are associated with structural hinge zones and adjoining highs. Late Eocene rocks exposed in the western part of the basin exhibit a complex network of branching segmented normal and strike-slip faults, generally with a NNW-SSE structural grain. Many surface structural features have been interpreted from satellite images which confirm sinistral strike-slip kinematics. Relay ramp structures, numerous elongate asymmetric synclines associated with shallow west limbs and steeper dipping east limbs are developed in the hangingwalls adjacent to west downthrowing normal faults.. These structural patterns reflect Cretaceous/Tertiary extensional tectonics with additional control by underlying pre-existing Pan-African basement fabrics and ENE-WSW trending Hercynian structures. We relate the Sirt Basin rift development as exemplified in our study area to the break-up of Gondwana represented by the structural evolution of the West-Central African rift system and the South and Central Atlantic, the Tethys and the Indian Oceans.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90141©2012, GEO-2012, 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 March 2012, Manama, Bahrain