Geochemical Fingerprinting of Oil Seeps in the Southern Part of the Gulf of Suez and its Geological and Archaeological Implications
Assem O. Barakat1, Alaa El-Din R. Mostafa1, Yaorong Qian2, Moonkoo Kim2
(1) Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt (2) Texas A&M University, Texas, TX
Molecular geochemical properties of crude oils and surface petroleum seeps from the southern part of the Gulf of Suez were evaluated. The characterizations of individual aliphatic, aromatic, and biomarker compounds were based on gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analyses. The results provided a strong evidence for a close genetic association of these samples. The geochemical characteristics suggest an origin from Tertiary source rocks deposited in a normal marine environment that received continental runoff. The molecular signatures of the investigated samples were very similar to those of the Lower Miocene Rudeis Formation source rock in the southern part of the Gulf of Suez. Further, biomarker fingerprints of the investigated oil seeps were compared with those of the Dead Sea asphalt as well as the bitumen from some Egyptian mummies reported in the literature. The results suggest that the oil seeps from the southern end of Gebel El-Zeit may have been used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming.