Palynological Correlation of the Late Cambrian to Middle Ordovician Saq Formation in Saudi Arabia and Equivalent Strata in Oman Manuscript Title
- Marco Vecoli (Saudi Aramco) | Christian Cesari (Saudi Aramco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, 18-21 March, Manama, Bahrain
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Palynology, Ordovician, Cambrian, Saudi Arabia, Saq Formation
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The Cambro-Ordovician succession of Saudi Arabia comprises dominantly siliciclastic sediments deposited in a passive margin intracratonic setting and includes the fluvial to marginal marine Saq Formation (Late Cambrian to early Middle Ordovician), the marine Qasim Formation (late Middle to Late Ordovician) and the glaciogenic Sarah Formation (Hirnantian, latest Ordovician).
The Saq Formation is subdivided into the Risha Member (Late Cambrian) and the Sajir Member (Early to Middle Ordovician). Palynological age-control in the Risha Member is provided by a characteristic acritarch assemblage (CB1 Palynozone) which contains well-known Furongian (Late Cambrian) diagnostic taxa (e.g., Trunculumarium revinium, Timofeevia phosphoritica and Ninadiacrodium dumontii), as recorded in one subsurface locality in the Arabian Gulf. This typical assemblage occurs worldwide in Furongian-aged strata and not only permits a confident age- attribution, but also indicates an open marine facies within the predominantly fluvial to marginal marine lower Saq Formation. In Oman, the same assemblage occurs in the Al-Bashair Member of the Andam Formation. In the lower part of the Sajir Member, one acritarch assemblage characterized by the presence of Acanthodicaodium angustum and Vulcanisphaera spp., was described from a subsurface section in Eastern Saudi Arabia, indicating an earliest Ordovician (Tremadocian) age. This assemblage forms the O6 Palynozone and suggests correlation with the Mabrouk Member of the Andam Formation in Oman.
The top of the Sajir Member of the Saq Formation is characterized by mud-rich bioturbated deposits which typically yield a distinct palynological assemblage (O5 Palynozone), characterized by dominance of morphologically distinctive sporomorphs (e.g., Virgatasporites spp., various hilate sporomorphs) and characteristic acritarch species such as ?Clypeolus sp., ?Cymatiosphaera sp., ?Retialetes sp., and Barakella spp. The assemblage is also characterized by the first occurrence of some typical Middle Ordovician acritarch taxa such as Arkonia, Striatotheca, and Frankea. Among the chitinozoan, Siphonochitina formosa is typically represented. The age of this assemblage spans the Dapingian to earliest Darriwilian, in agreement with faunal evidence. The assemblage indicates a marginal marine, restricted paleoenvironment. Virtually identical palynological assemblages occur in Oman in the Saih-Nihayda Formation, considered of late Dapingian to Darriwilian age. More specifically, it is suggested here that the O5 Palynozone of Saudi Arabia permits correlation of the upper Sajir Member of the Saq Formation with the lower, sand-prone, part of the Saih Nihayda Formation in Oman.
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