Wolpert, P., M. Bartenbach, P. Suess, R. Rausch, T. Aigner and Y.M. Le Nindre 2015. Facies analysis and sequence stratigraphy of the uppermost Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous Sulaiy Formation in outcrops of central Saudi Arabia. GeoArabia, v. 20, no. 4,


Uppermost Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous carbonates of the Sulaiy Formation are well exposed at the type locality Dahal Hit, and along the entire natural escarpment near Ar Riyad, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This study provides a facies and sequence-stratigraphic analysis based on detailed sedimentological and gamma-ray logging of 12 outcrop sections. The sections represent the Sulaiy Formation along a 60 km-long outcrop belt, including the Hith-Sulaiy transition in a large solution cavity named Dahal Hit, situated south of Ar Riyad. The latter section is studied in detail because it is the only locality in Saudi Arabia where the Hith Anhyrite (Hith Formation in this study) to the Sulaiy Formation transition crops out. Ten lithofacies types were identified for the Sulaiy Formation including potential reservoirs such as oolitic cross-bedded grainstones, biostromal boundstones, and bioclast-rich, graded pack-to-grainstones. Lithofacies types are grouped into five facies associations: (1) offshoal, (2) transition zone, (3) foreshoal, (4) shoal margin, and (5) shoal, distributed along a carbonate ramp. Their vertical stacking pattern revealed a systematic hierarchy of cyclicity consisting of small-scale cycles, medium-scale cycle sets and two large-scale sequences for the Sulaiy Formation. Four cycle motifs, with an average thickness of 2–4 m, are present: (1) offshoal to transition zone cycle motif, (2) offshoal to foreshoal cycle motif, (3) transition zone to shoal margin cycle motif, and (4) foreshoal to shoal margin cycle motif. A total of 15 cycle sets, ranging between 8 and 12 m in thickness each, were interpreted. They were correlated, where possible, across the study area. Three types of medium-scale cycle sets are observed: (1) offshoal to shoal cycle set motif, (2) offshoal to foreshoal cycle set motif, and (3) shoal margin to offshoal cycle set motif. The Lower Sulaiy Sequence consists of twelve cycle sets and is interpreted to contain two Arabian Plate maximum flooding surfaces (MFS): (1) Upper Tithonian MFS J110 (147 Ma) in its lowermost part, which is interpreted to be the time-equivalent of the Manifa reservoir in subsurface Arabia. (2) Lower Berriasian MFS K10 (144 Ma) in the seventh-up cycle set. The Upper Sulaiy Sequence is only represented in the Wadi Nisah Section and is believed to be incomplete because the Sulaiy/Yamama Formation boundary was not included in our study. It is presumed to contain Upper Berriasian MFS K20 (141 Ma).

MEGREF : 16324
Publication Year : 2015
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