Stratigraphy, sedimentation and oil potential of the Lower Jurassic to Kimmeridgian of the United Arab Emirates : outcrop and subsurface compared
The Jurassic litho-biostratigraphy is reviewed and Jurassic depositional models are defined in order to clarify some regional stratigraphic uncertainties and to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of the Jurassic of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A thick succession of Triassic-Cretaceous shallow-marine carbonates is exposed in Wadi Naqab, southeast of Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, Musandam Peninsula. The Jurassic, 1310 m thick, is examined using biostratigraphy, sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy and compared with the Abu Dhabi subsurface. Direct composition of the Jurassic foraminiferal biozones and algal assemblages can be made between Wadi Naqab and the South-Tethyan realm. Palynological data from the subsurface demonstrate that much of the Liassic, which is well represented in the Musandam Peninsula, is missing over most of the Emirates. A ca. 50 Ma time gap was defined within the Abu Dhabi clastic Minjur Formation (previously assigned to the Triassic). The age of the palynoflora of the upper Minjur is Bajocian, while the lower Minjur yielded Late Carnian palynomorphs. The Upper Toarcian and most of the Aalenian is also probably missing in the Musandam Peninsula, as in the subsurface of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. A new Bajocian foraminifera Pseudodictyopsella jurassica, n. gen., n. sp., was recognised, and the inception of some stromatoporoids was earlier than previously thought. The Liassic of Wadi Naqab is dominantly a metre-scale 5th-order Milankovitch-driven succession composed of peritidal cycles. Cycle tops are commonly marked by corrosion zones and/or karsts. Stacked paleokarsts are found particularly in the Sinemurian and Lower Pliensbachian. In Wadi Naqab, the Middle and Upper Jurassic seem to comprise one shallowing-upward 3rd-order cycle built of abundant 5th-order cycles. As a result of comparisons in this study, the Bajocian Izhara Formation is redefined and a new type-section proposed. Most of the Kimmeridgian and Tithonian are absent in Wadi Naqab, and eastern onshore and offshore Abu Dhabi, as the result of uplift and erosion before deposition of the Lower Cretaceous. Possible major Jurassic (Liassic-Early Kimmeridgian) hydrocarbon plays of Abu Dhabi are: the Marrat lowstand wedge of eastern onshore, the Jurassic onlap of Triassic high blocks in offshore areas, the Minjur lowstand clastics, the offshore Uweinat and Upper Araej and the Upper Jurassic Hadriya and Hanifa reservoirs.