On the genesis of Mesozoic sedimentary basins in Northeast Africa - Sedimentologic and paleontologic interrelationships with tectonic processes

Cooperation project between Bremen University and Ain Shams University, Cairo

Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover

This interdisciplinary geoscientific study will concentrate on the evaluation of important sedimentologic, paleontologic, and tectonic factors that are discernible in fault-controlled Mesozoic rift basins (or sub-basins) of the Northern Sinai. This project is a contribution to the understanding of rift-related tectonic processes and their sedimentary/biotic implications based on the pre-existing depositional basins along the Sinai passive margin. Here, the Syrian Arc fold-belt comprises several sub-parallel chains of elongate asymmetric antiforms, due to Late Cretaceous basin inversion. Their north-dipping steep limbs are generally associated with reverse bounding faults.

Seismic models across the basins indicate a progressively thickening of the Mesozoic sedimentary units towards the active bounding faults. We intend to reconstruct the pre-inversion tectonic processes of rift-induced uprising and subsiding blocks and the resulting sedimentologic-paleontologic processes within the late Jurassic - Lower Cretaceous "syn-rift" suite of the North Sinai. Besides new results to the poorly known tectono-sedimentary interrelationships of Mesozoic syn-rift suites, we expect synergetic effects within an interdisciplinary geoscientific group. This group brings together stratigraphic, (micro)paleontologic (ostracods, foraminifera, calcareous nannoplankton, algae, molluscs), sedimentologic and structural geologic expertise from both universities and associated partners.

Happy project partners anxious to leave for Sinai. (From left to right: Jochen Kuss, Amin Bassiouni, Adel-Ramadan Moustafa, Egyptian student, Robert Speijer and Mohsen Morsi. Also involved in the project, but not on this trip: Martina Bachmann. Picture by Heidi Müller)


Landsat image of Gebel Maghara (N. Sinai) and around, one of our prime study areas in the current research project. The core of the double plunging anticline consists of steeply dipping Jurassic platform deposits. These are overlain by gently dipping lower Cretaceous deltaic, middle Cretaceous ramp/platform and upper Cretaceous hemipelagic deposits.

Recently Heidi Müller completed her M.Sc. subproject entitled "Paleoenvironments and paleoecology of Aptian marginal marine deposits at Gebel Raghawi, Sinai (Egypt)"

Further associated and corresponding partners:
Dr Jens Lehmann (Bremen University), Dr Sebastian Lüning (Bremen University), Dr Akmal M. Marzouk (Tanta University), Dr Markus Wilmsen (Würzburg University)