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Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104

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Biostratigraphy and depositional setting of Maastrichtian e Eocene oil
shales from Jordan
Mohammad Alqudah a, *, Mohammad Ali Hussein a, Sander van den Boorn b,
€ rg Mutterlose a
Olaf G. Podlaha b, Jo
Ruhr-Universita€t Bochum, Institute for Geology, Mineralogy und Geophysic, Universita
€tsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
Shell Global Solutions International B.V., Projects and Technology, Netherlands

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Large distance correlation of sedimentary organic rich facies units in Jordan has been established by
Received 22 February 2014 means of calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy. Based on a biostratigraphic framework, a better un-
Received in revised form derstanding of the deposition and distribution of Maastrichtian to Eocene oil shales is obtained. A total of
21 July 2014
812 samples representing 29 wells located across Jordan were studied for calcareous nannofossil
Accepted 24 July 2014
Available online 5 December 2014
The results reveal major regional changes in paleogeography leading to a change in oil shales distri-
bution in time. The tectonic settings have been determined for four different oil shale sequences of
Calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy
Maastrichtian, Paleocene, Early Eocene and Middle Eocene age. Large variations in thickness over short
Oil shales distances indicate syndepositional subsidence control in several fault bound sedimentary sub-basins.
Cretaceous During the Early Maastrichtian transgression, a thick oil shale dominated succession was accumulated
Paleocene in the south of Jordan. This transgression continued into the Paleocene as represented by a thick
Eocene sequence of oil shales in nannofossil Zone NP 3. In the Late Paleocene, the gradual progradation of the oil
shale facies from south to north coincided with an uplift of the Sirhan Sub-basin in east Jordan.
Accordingly, the oil shale distribution varies locally and shows a scattered geographic distribution in the
Late Paleocene. An up to 60 m thick succession of Early Eocene oil shales was found in central Jordan.
Localized restricted conditions, which prevailed during the YpresianeLutetian transition (nannofossil
Zone NP 14), were caused by the subsidence of the Azraq-Hamza and Sirhan sub-basins. These move-
ments resulted in thick oil shale accumulation in the southeastern and central parts of Jordan. A gradual
relative sea level fall during the Bartonian resulted in a prograding and thinning of the oil shale facies
from west to east in central Jordan.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction 1989) in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and
Lebanon). The genesis of the sedimentary basins, their tectonic
Considering the economic value of their sedimentary deposits, structure, basin-fill geometry and subsidence history based on the
oil shales and phosphates have been reported either as large scale thicknesses of their stratigraphic units have been investigated in
occurrences or have been studied in localized occurrences repre- past paleogeographic studies (Flexer, 1971). These studies are of
senting special environments. These sedimentary deposits have importance to understand the extend of the oil shale sequences
been described for various basins in the Near East (Abed, 2013). (Einsele, 1992). Most of the basins and their source rock deposits
Recent findings of oil shale deposits in the Near East relate to were dated according to their paleogeography and litho-facies
sedimentary basins controlled in their development by major (Abu-Jaber et al., 1989; Flexer, 1971), an approach that can easily
bounding faults, e.g. the Sirhan Turrayf Graben (Abu-Jaber et al., lead to erroneous correlation of stratigraphic units. Lithologically
homogenous facies types do not necessarily represent synchronous
units; studies purely based on lithostratigraphy should therefore be
* Corresponding author. Office: NA 2/125, Tel.: þ49 234 32 25459; fax: þ49 234 used with caution. More reliable analyses using micropaleonto-
32 14571. logical or absolute age correlations are scarce or locally constrained
E-mail address: (M. Alqudah).
0264-8172/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Paleocene e Eocene Schulte et al. the Sirhan Graben and the Rutbah Uplift..g. 2002 Naylor et al. 1994 North America and the Middle East. Widespread deposits of Late Campanian to Syria Campanian e Maastrichtian Ismail et al.. they occupy Paleocene e Eocene Jassim and Gailani. 2010 Paleogene oil shales in Jordan are well documented.. 1992. thickness and organic carbon content make them the most prominent source rock for oil in Jordan (Aqleh et al. Basha. 2014a have been described for the Paleozoic.... / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Table 1 to Late Cretaceous and Paleogene deposits of the Near East Stratigraphic and geochemical studies on oil shale occurrence in the Middle East. Cross section of Jordan showing the main paleogeographical features in Jordan. Lajjun Sub-basin) as indicated in Figure 1. 2006 Iraq Maastrichtian Jassim and Gailani.. 1989 graben settings such as the Sirhan-Turrayf Basin (Saudi Arabia. Beydoun et al. 2003. (Alqudah et al. Futyan. 1997 lacustrine depositional environments (e. 1975 East is given in Table 1. Mesozoic and Cenozoic Palestine Hauterivian e Campanian Flexer et al.. continental and Egypt (Red Sea) Maastrichtian e Danian El Kassas and Khaled. 1982 several geological periods and eras. (1989). Syria and Lebanon) and the Euphrates Basin (Syria)... (Negev) Miocene Yoffe et al. Jafr Sub-basin. 1979 Eocene Basha. . 2009. 2014a. Hamam... 2006). 2006 basin. The thickest strata have been found in Maastrichtian e Paleocene Powell. 2013 Cenomanian e Turonian Bender. These oil shales were Turkey Santonian e Campanian Inan et al. Sirhan Sub- Miocene € Onal et al. 2011 1971). due to their widespread (Red Sea Alsharhan and Salah. Cross section after Abu-Jaber et al. 1986 (Armstrong et al. A summary of oil shale research conducted in the Middle Jordan Paleozoic. 2013). Alqudah et al.g. 1982. Hamza-Azraq Sub-basin. Yassini. 2010 deposited in various sub-basins (Yarmouk Sub-basin. 2014a).. 1979). Examples of the Figure 1. Flexer. 1976 Jordan. 1977 Oil shale occurrences are reported across Jordan and throughout Yassini. Alqudah Paleocene e Eocene et al.. Dill et al. 1997 occurrence. These rocks range in age from the Cambrian to the and Midyan) Neogene and were formed in a variety of marine. Localized potential oil shales Alqudah et al. 2006 thousands of square kilometers throughout Jordan (e. Country Age Author Oil shale deposits are mainly known as source rock deposits in Saudi Arabia Miocene Cole et al.. Hamarneh. Their distribution..88 M. 2013. 2005. Mesozoic Naylor et al. Dyni.

Lithostratigraphy OS-2 South west Core 18 190 Maastrichtiane Paleocene Futyan (1976) and Powell (1989) have assigned a Campanian to OS-3 South west Cutting 5 118 Maastrichtian OS-4 South west Cutting 25 262 PaleoceneeEocene Paleocene age to the Jordanian oil shales and the corresponding OS-5 South west Cutting 25 211 Maastrichtian MCM. M. characterized by distinctive water masses sepa- 2. tectonic and relief of the hinterland.. the Mediterranean Neo-Tethys. The term ‘oil shale’ as used in this study refers to of the absolute age. The MCM formation. This will allow the correlation of 3. sitional environments beyond the oil shale deposits. 1959). Name Location Type Number Thickness Stages (m) OS-1 South west Core 56 183 MaastrichtianeEocene 4. soft chalks. 2011). TOC and impression of them being exclusively representing a subset of their CaCO3 content data were measured using a calibrated true time equivalence. the Atlantic Neo-Tethys. they gradually OS-28 Central east Core 89 184 MaastrichtianeEocene decrease in thickness towards the south and southeast (Powell.. reconstructions presented here are based on the new biostrati- trichtian to Eocene interval (Bender. Well Tethys (Camoin et al. It ranges in thickness from a few meters in OS-9 South east Cutting 31 147 MaastrichtianeEocene the south to more than 750 m in the Sirhan Sub-basin in the central OS-10 South east Cutting 30 163 MaastrichtianeEocene east.. NP ¼ Nannoplank- of Jordan” or “Jordan Maastrichtian oil shales” giving the incorrect ton Paleogene) of Burnett (1998) and Martini (1970). The Eastern Neo-Tethys domain numbers and approximate locations are illustrated in Figure 1. 1993b). Material and methods rated by shallow water platforms. 2005. Jordan (Diabat and Masri. in the west it was separated from the Medi- was selected as shown in Table 2. (Hamarneh. The Late Creta- the Muwwaqar Chalk Marl (MCM) oil shales which are of Maas. 1998. In reality. Johnson. NEeSW). These sub-basins were strongly influenced by Well Sample Section climate. Located across Jordan. Moh'd. 1975). Other OS-22 Central west Core 111 220 Eocene studies suggest that the URC can typically be found on swell- OS-23 Central west Core 103 255 Eocene settings. which contain typically more than 200 m of bituminous OS-12 South east Cutting 35 251 MaastrichtianeEocene marly limestones (Bender. ceous. Camoin with oil shales deposits. The correla- 1993a. chert OS-20 Central west Cutting 33 175 MaastrichtianeEocene layers and locally bituminous marls.. whilst the MCM was deposited as bituminous marly OS-24 North Cutting 4 93 Eocene OS-25 North Cutting 17 221 Eocene limestones in the sedimentary sub-basins during the Early Eocene OS-26 North east Cutting 4 150 Eocene (Bender. Powell and Names. Lajjun in the centre. 1992. graphic data. extended across the Eurasian and Arabian margins and opened Sample material from five cored wells and 24 wells with cuttings widely eastwards. Quennell.. and the Yarmouk valley in the north of 1250. 3). Bender. 1993a). / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 89 occurrences in different parts of Jordan are Umm Rijam in the biostratigraphy (Fig. this formation spans the Maas. Jordan was located in the understanding of the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene depo- an epicontinental sea of 14 e22 paleolatitude (Butterlin et al. The thick sequences of the MCM and the URC OS-27 North east Cutting 6 232 Eocene formations are found in the north of Jordan. Geological setting sediment and organic facies units over large distances. A total of 812 simple smear slides terranian Neo-Tethys domain (Camoin et al. marls. Paleocene and Eocene oil shale sequences across Jordan within a chronological framework. Paleocene and Eocene tectono-sedimentary and shoreline trichtian age. 1968. The URC Formation is composed of massive OS-18 Central west Cutting 5 477 Eocene OS-19 Central west Cutting 10 172 Eocene chalky limestones alternating with thin bedded limestones. 1993a) (see Fig. It is therefore in part the OS-21 Central west Cutting 17 91 Maastrichtian time-equivalent of the upper part of the MCM Formation. OS-29 North west Core 41 262 MaastrichtianeEocene 1989). 1993b). The latter was divided into five geographic domains. Such influence is pronounced in shallow epiconti- nental seas by the formation of internal shelf basins structured by Table 2 shallow swells (segmented basins) (Einsele. et al. OS-6 South east Cutting 31 296 PaleoceneeEocene typically consists of thick bedded chalky marls. such as phosphates.. 2014a). the TOC content (JOSCO). . 1989). 1993b). twenty nine wells were drilled. Mihdawi and Mustafa.. trichtian. The oil shales have The zonal scheme used here follows the standard calcareous often been referred unspecifically as “the Late Cretaceous oil shales nannofossil zonation (UC ¼ Upper Cretaceous. The thickest sequences are restricted to the center of the sub- OS-11 South east Cutting 5 277 MaastrichtianeEocene basins. It formed a part of the tion allows the recognition of other potential resources associated southern margin of the Neo-Tethys (Butterlin et al. 1993a. however. 2007). OS-7 South east Cutting 4 250 PaleoceneeEocene marly limestones and locally microcrystalline limestones (Ali OS-8 South east Cutting 23 160 Maastrichtiane Paleocene Hussein et al. These domains. 2014). location of wells and samples used in this study. irrespective of their former formation assignments. The age of this OS-13 South east Cutting 4 250 MaastrichtianeEocene OS-14 Central east Cutting 63 530 Eocene lithostratigraphical unit in the sub-basins ranges from Maas- OS-15 Central east Cutting 6 466 Eocene trichtian to Early Eocene (Andrews. include the Caribbean Neo- Tethys. 1992. The correlation enhances Throughout the Maastrichtian to Eocene. Alqudah et al. Camoin et al. 1975). A commonly used and often published term is marls containing more than an average 8% TOC. 2) using light microscopy with a magnification south. OS-16 Central west Cutting 5 274 Eocene The Um Rijam Chert-limestone (¼URC) Formation overlies the OS-17 Central west Cutting 6 494 Eocene MCM Formation. These the Eastern Neo-Tethys and the Himalayan-Indonesian Neo- wells are aligned along two main transects (NWeSE.. Also time transgressive formation names LECOeCSe230 elemental analyzer by the Jordan oil shales com- have been used to refer to them and give an inadequate information pany (JOSCO). which hosts the Jordan oil shales. Powell. 1975. 1975). All these factors controlled the influx of terrigenous material (Alqudah et al. and the structural map of This study aims to reconstruct the distribution of Late Maas. 2006.. The Arabian have been studied from the 29 wells for calcareous nannofossil Platform collided with the Eurasian Plate during the Eocene and enhanced the influence of syn-sedimentary tectonics (Butterlin et al.

i. defining the Paleocene and Early Eocene age was found only in core OS-28. and the Paleocene and Early Eocene.e. Coccolithus these regional groups were found. -12. Tribrachiatus orthostylus.1. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 2. Furthermore a complete but condensed section of biostratigraphic framework. the regional sea level. Neochiastozygus junctus. The Early to Middle Eocene biozones NP 10 to NP 17 are The oil shales are geographically grouped into south. Chiasmolithus danicus. Retic. some missing zone patterns were not correlatable to NP 9 are Cyclagelosphaera reinhardtii. Sub-basin specific movements therefore resulted in Heliolithus kleinpellii and Heliolithus riedelii to define the base of the respective local accommodation space against the background of NP 6 and NP 8 zones respectively. For details see stratigraphically different oil shale units have been recognized Alqudah et al.e. i. -9. Discoaster mohleri. however. deeper. -20. -11. Discoaster sublodoensis. sediment thicknesses and li- N. Cruci. Absolute ages after Gradstein et al. top of the biozones. the oil shales were chronologi- crassus. These hiati were not necessarily Micula prinsii. placolithus tenuis. cally (biozonation) divided into stratigraphic units. The oil shales discussed in this study are assigned an Early Maastrichtian oil shales were found throughout most of the Maastrichtian to late Middle Eocene age (Fig. (2012). Ellipsolithus distichus. east. or sedimentation breaks are present in the studied wells for parts of Reinhardtites levis. A major difficulty for dating the wells in here: 1) Maastrichtian. 5. Schematic sketch showing the locations of different wells. Each of the sub-basins had its own bounding faults. cen- indicated by the marker species Rhomboaster cuspis. There is no studied wells (wells OS-1. The following ulofenestra umbilicus and Chiasmolithus solitus. and Discoaster multi- radiatus. 2) Paleocene. -10. not an exclusive criterion as the wells did 5. Markalius inversus. Results evidence for oil shales older than Early Maastrichtian in the studied wells. Zygodiscus adamas and paleotopography. Each of these units reflects a different sub-basin nannofossil marker species typically used for defining the base or architecture. . hiati Cretaceous biozones UC 17 to UC 20.2.90 M. 3) Early Eocene and 4) Middle this study are the inconsistent abundance patterns of calcareous Eocene oil shales. junctus (NP 8) are used here instead of the marker species thologies. 4). Tribrachiatus tral. -3. paleogeography. Biostratigraphy not penetrate older. -13. Cretaceous and Paleocene species are abundant while Eocene Calcareous nannofossils have been used to define the species are rare. Toweius pertusus (NP 6). Micula murus. Fasciculithus tympaniformis. -5. Alqudah et al. Nannotetrina quadrata. The marker species for the Paleocene biozones NP 1 correlated. Lithraphidites quadratus. (2014a. -8. sections than reported here. include Tranolithus orionatus.b). across wells or are limited to a subset of wells. 5. This is. Age diagnostic taxa. Discoaster lodoensis. and north Jordan deposits. Oil shale distribution Zygodiscus adamas. -2. When age differences between bramlettei. Toweius pertusus.

OS. M. -26. -28. -12. 23 m. -21). comparison to other oil shale sequences in this study. 4).e. Locally. the Maas. posits were found (wells OS-4. 9 m. Early Eocene non-oil shale de- in core OS-01. -28. The earliest Paleocene (nannofossil Zone NP 1) is represented by -8. 9 m. -20. 36 m. -29. -11) and locally in the southwest (well OS-4) is represented by 18 m and 20 m thick oil shales in wells OS-1 and in nannofossil Zone NP 4. -8. 4). -8. Oil shales 28. Deposition of oil shales decreased against an increasing Zone UC 20B. -21. 28 m. -13) and in the north (wells OS-20. NP mulated in wells OS-2. Zone UC 18/19 (wells OS-1. -12. southeast (wells wells located along the border of Saudi Arabia (OS-10. 6). Oil shale deposition continued 62 me125 m. 25 m. (1993b). -27. OS-21. -29. -21. 55 m. -7. -6. -11. -11. -20. -20. -9. Low organic matter sediments were found in well during the early Late Paleocene (zones NP 5 and NP 6) in well OS-6. oil A synchronous sedimentation break can be observed in wells OS-7. -26. -12. -12 while wells OS-1. -2. Eocene map after Butterlin et al. Fig. -28) (Fig. trichtian oil shales reflect a high sedimentation rate (i. -4. In thick strata represent these Late Paleocene biozones in wells OS-6. -7. -8. coinciding with very condensed non-oil shales deposition in showing thicker successions with thicknesses between central east Jordan (well OS-28). The oil shales Figures 7 and 8. During Zone UC 20A. In the latest Maastrichtian (nannofossil Zone UC 20B). -13. thickness were found in the southeast wells (OS-06. the thickest section is found in the a sedimentation break observed in the southwest. -2. -7. OS-9. southeast. -10. 3). -29) with different thicknesses (Fig. -23. -8. -2. Alqudah et al. -29). -9. 4). -11. thin oil shales were accu. high ratio Early Eocene oil shales were assigned to wells drilled in central of thickness versus biozone absolute age). 221 m). oil shales are thickening in 8 wells (OS-1. -9. 53 m. -5. representing Zone UC 17 (Early Maastrichtian) occur in wells OS-2. the Early Eocene oil shales based on the nannofossil biozones are central east and northeast of Jordan (wells OS-1. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 91 Figure 3. -12. -22. -12. -10. The geographic distribution of oil shales geographic distribution of the oil shales based on the calcareous based on the calcareous nannofossils biozones are illustrated in nannofossil biozones is illustrated in Figures 5 and 6. Early Paleocene strata of more than 80 m -2 respectively. -28. -2. Stratigraphic distribution of Paleocene oil shales were found in the southwest. OS-08. -28. 15 m. -8. -9. -2. -10. Jordan was located in the northwest part of the Arab Peninsula. -27. (1993b). -11. -9. -28. NP 3.2 cm/1000 years -18. The sedimentation rate Jordan and some along the Saudi border (wells OS-6. The -10. -8. -15) (Fig. illustrated in Figure 9. general sedimentation during zones NP 7 and NP 8. -11. of the UC 20 A Zone (Late Maastrichtian) was 16. shales occur in wells OS-1. In -9. -3. Late Maastrichtian map after Camoin et al. Early Late Maastrichtian oil shales (nannofossil dominate in nannofossil zones NP 2 and NP 3 in southeast Jordan Zone UC 18) occur in wells OS-1. . Paleogeographic map of Jordan for the Maastrichtian and Eocene. -9. 25 m respectively. In consequence.

92 M. . Map showing the distribution of oil shales in Jordan for the Maastrichtian e Eocene. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 4. Alqudah et al.

-7 west. -18. during the Early Eocene (nannofossil zones NP 12 and NP 13) was and 25 (63 m). -24. -19. -9. A 30 m oil shale section assigned to the late Early Eocene -23. -25) include oil shales. were the northeast well (OS-26). east and northeast Jordan (wells OS-14. and -12. though thinner. oil shales were deposited in central (nannofossil zones NP 10 and NP 11) was observed in wells OS-6. -17. The proposed biozones are based on encountered in wells OS-22 and -23. The northern wells (OS-24. Non-oil shale sedimentation (nannofossil Zone NP 14) occur in wells OS-6 (85 m). -25. These sections (wells OS-22. and -28. Potentially synchronous occurrences. The thickest strata of early Middle Eocene the absence of the marker species. -13). Map showing the distribution of the Maastrichtian biozones in Jordan. found in wells OS-9. -22. -15. M. -27) (Fig. A very condensed oil shales succession of Early Eocene age During the Middle Eocene. the central west well (OS-20). No oil shales were observed in the (nannofossil zones NP 12 and NP 13) was drilled in wells OS-11and southeast wells (OS-6. and -12. 4). Alqudah et al. nannofossil biostratigraphy and the resulting correlation is shown -23) were left as unassigned in the wells OS-22 and -23 due to in Figures 10 and 11. Oil shales of nannofossil Zone NP 15 age are restricted to the center . -9 (38 m). / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 93 Figure 5.

2013). the position of the well versus the hinterland. Oil shale deposition fault movements. It are by paleohighs. 2014b). -21 and 29 during Early Eocene. These paleohighs obstructed the Tethyan Circum- documented for the Paleocene in the southwest (wells OS-1. 2003). along the Afro-Arabian Platform (Abed and Amireh. Correlation chart of Maastrichtian to Early Eocene oil shales in Jordan. -10. the land-sea created intensive deformation along their boundaries. hiatus in all central Jordan wells (OS-22. the plate-tectonic movements played a major role in More than 250 m of this zone have been recorded from well OS-14. The thickest package is found in OS-14. 2014a).. -20. et al. Based The giant phosphorite and oil shale occurrences in the eastern on these controls. with resulting topography Zone NP 17 is found in wells OS-14 and OS-18. For the entire Maastrichtian to Late thickening of the deposits continues into nannofossil Zone NP 16. In this study. -16. 1993. -2. -4. they contain thick bituminous marls. Eocene. Complete sections phosphorite deposits consist mainly of reworked granular mate- ranging from zones NP 14 e NP 17 were observed without any rials (Ali Hussein et al. regional and local basin formation. -19. -15.94 M. -17. global Current (Abed. The sub-basins were strongly influ- -5). -13) and UC 20B (well OS-3). the Maastrichtian to Eocene -6. UC 20A (wells OS-11. Oil shales accumulated in silled sub-basins observed in some of the wells during zones UC 18/19 (wells OS-10. Alqudah et al. -24). The oil shales configuration has been changed during the Maastrichtian due to in wells OS-14. 2014). Hiati and sedimentation breaks are presented in wells OS-4. -11) and northwest parts (well enced by climate. i. submarine swells and sub-basins resulting from active 6. Almogi- Labin et al. -22 and 23 have thicknesses of the convergence of the Arabian Plate with the Eurasian Plate (Abd more than 100 m. the data obtained from the 29 wells shows thick- ness variations of the oil shale occurrences. Tectonic framework nutrient-rich water mass from the deep Neo-Tethys Ocean to the surface causing high productivity and organic rich deposition Differential movement between the Arabian and Eurasian Plates during the Turonian to Campanian times. In addition. -9. The upwelling spreads cold 6. several phases of major regional paleogeographic Mediterranean regions are associated with the upwelling currents change can be distinguished. These phases resulted in the varia- which came from the Tethyan Circumglobal Current that flowed tions of oil shale distribution and thicknesses across Jordan. -23.. distributed throughout the eastern Mediterranean and surrounded -11). -10. 1983. controlling the sediment facies types and transport mechanisms Hiati and sedimentation breaks of Maastrichtian strata were (Alqudah et al..e. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 6. tectonic and relief of the hinterland (Alqudah OS-29). and the north.1. and synchronous or asynchronous movements of different locations during the Maastrichtian and Paleogene. Discussion ancient paleotopography. Abed.. southeast (wells OS-7. 2013). The El-Motaal and Kusky. 2014a. These relate to the 6.2. This resulted . However.

. Alqudah et al. Additionally. sediments during the time of movement. M. Sirhan Sub-basin. 2007). / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 95 in the uplift of some areas and an increasing overprint of the sub. Activation of the faults could have enhanced the subsidence of Five major faults documented for the Late Cretaceous e the graben and therefore causing a thickening of the deposited Paleogene of Jordan created five tectono-sedimentary sub-ba. The evaluation of Azraq-Hamza Sub-basin. the Zarqa Main Fault and the Sirhan Fault the erosion of the strata. the Karak Fayha Fault. resulting uplifted areas. System (Fig. such sins. basins by subsidence (Lopes and Cunha. Lajjun and Yarmouk sub-basins were the history of the sub-basin subsidence can be reconstructed by bounded by these faults. 12A). Each of the sub-basins has its own linking these sub-basins to the movement of the faults and subsidence history. Figure 7. The resulting Jafr Sub-basin. These faults are the Salawan Fault. movements could have boosted the presence of horsts and thus the Siwaqa Fault. Map showing the distribution of the Early Paleocene biozones in Jordan. architecture and accommodation space.

Missing Paleocene bio- The Sirhan Sub-basin. causing the subsidence of the graben. Siwaqa and . Map showing the distribution of the Late Paleocene biozones in Jordan. This sub-basin was bounded by the Sirhan. connected to the Sirhan Faults System (Al-Jawf rifting). it is a narrow. active during the Maastrichtian and Early Paleocene. is Paleocene. -10. The Jafr Sub-basin is bounded by the Salawan and Karak Fayha Paleocene and Eocene oil shales accumulated in this sub-basin Faults. It is a The Azraq-Hamza Sub-basin has an irregular-shaped. Aoudeh and Al-Hajri. northwest e southeast trending domain marked by tectonically more complex structure than the other three sub- disconformities as observed in wells OS-6.96 M. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 8. basins. Maastrichtian. This indicates that the sedimenta- bituminous marls was deposited. implying that the two faults were tion rate was affected by the northwest-southeast fault system. Alqudah et al. A 130 m thick Maastrichtian to Paleocene successions of with different thicknesses. -9. 1994). stretching through the northwest of zones indicate that this fault system was active during the Saudi Arabia (¼Al-Jawf Basin.

13). / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 97 Figure 9. Cretaceous oil shales were accumulated in sea level rise (Sluijs et al. Paleoshoreline and oil shale facies eastern area of the sub-basin.. Subsidence of the grabens could have The Yarmouk Sub-basin is connected to the fold system created increased the space of the sub-basin and thereby caused a relative by Syrian Arc system. Lajjun and Sirhan sub-basins coincided with a relative sea level rise Cretaceous to Middle Eocene oil shales were deposited in this (Fig. the reason behind the widespread distribution of oil shales in this ing the Late Cretaceous. Zarqa Main faults. in addition to minor faults in between. 2008. 2014b). Map showing the distribution of the Early Eocene biozones in Jordan. for a relative sea level change. period.3. Alqudah et al. Alqudah et al. This could be this sub-basin. the downthrown of the eastern block allowed the deposition of oil shales. A hiatus at the Cretaceous/Paleocene boundary in west . In the 6. more than twice The deposition of Early Maastrichtian sediments in the Jafr. the thickness was found in the western equivalent block.. M. Local tectonics might are considered to be the responsible sub-basin. indicating that compressional stress occurred dur.

Findings of Early Eocene sediments in southwest central Jordan. however. This shift was accompa- sea level fall during the Middle Eocene was accompanied by the nied by the subsidence of the Jafr Sub-basin where oil shales deposition of oil shales only in the deeper parts of the sub-basins in accumulated. Paleocene and Eocene the Middle Eocene (Zone NP 15) led to a shift of the shoreline . sediment thicknesses only with the subsidence of the Sirhan Sub-basin. A subsequent sea level changed locally due to changes of the sea level and tectonic ac- rise during the Late Paleocene and Early Eocene correlates with the tivities. The Maastrichtian and Paleocene shorelines oil shales in the east of Jordan during the Early Paleocene coincided were fixed at the same position. A major regression during reconstructed for the Maastrichtian. In the Early Eocene to early Middle Eocene the shorelines presence of oil shale deposits in east Jordan. A subsequent gradual shifted. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 10. The occurrence of periods (Fig. Jordan suggest that this part of Jordan was covered by an Based on the biostratigrapic data the paleoshoreline has been epicontinental sea (Momani.98 M. to the east and north. Alqudah et al. Map showing the distribution of the Middle Eocene biozones in Jordan. 2005). 12B). Jordan is a consequence of a relative sea level fall.

-9). A more widespread and less local deposition of oil shales 6. Cretaceous facies (Fig.3. sequences.3.3. Three stratigraphically different oil shale along with an uplift of the sub-basin. Meanwhile. M. 2005).2. A major progradation of oil shales has been observed from the tonic phase and a dominance of regional sea level fluctuations. Correlation chart of Middle Eocene oil shales in Jordan. A subsequent regional transgression Sub-basin versus a high one in the Jafr Sub-basin superimposed on led to the deposition of sediments during NP 9 as represented in the the early Late Maastrichtian regression led to different sediment Sirhan Sub-basin wells. a thick succession facies can be differentiated: was deposited during Zone NP 5 in southwest Jordan. A major hiatus in the during the Bartonian coincided with the progradation of the oil Sirhan Sub-basin corresponds with the Selandian regression going shale from the west to the east in central Jordan. The Sirhan Sub-basin wells OS-1 and -5 suggest a local uplift. Alqudah et al. -10. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 99 Figure 11. Coinciding subsidence occurred in the east in the Sirhan Sub-basin. toward central Jordan.1. During the transgression in the Early Maastrichtian.3. a thick Another hiatus is recorded in northwest Jordan suggesting local succession dominated by oil shales was deposited in southern tectonic movements which coincide with a regional stable sea level Jordan (wells OS-10. 6) the Sirhan Sub-basin during the Late Paleocene (NP 7 e NP 8). Paleocene facies (Fig. A major sea level fall during the Late Ypresian to During the Danian. This indicates . The subsequent gradual sea level fall of the Sirhan Sub-basin (wells OS-6. A hiatus in most of the studied wells indicates further uplift of 6. -28). Late Paleocene to the Early Eocene where a thick succession of Early Eocene oil shales was recorded in the central Jordan wells 6. It is pro- and NP 3 (well OS-6) was followed by a gradual progradation from posed that this could have resulted from a high rate of subsidence the south to the north. retrogradation and deposition of oil shales in Early Lutetian (Zone NP 14) corresponds with the occurrence of a localized settings as observed in thick successions in zones NP 2 locally thick succession in southeast Jordan (well OS-6). -28). Eocene facies (Fig. 6) (OS-12. A low sedimentation rate in the Sirhan (Haq and Al-Qahtani. 6) occurred during the Late Maastrichtian suggesting a regional tec.

A.Structural map of Jordan showing the oil shale distributions correlated to the major faults in Jordan. The structural map after Diabat and Masri (2005) and Johnson (1998). . B.Figure 12. Late Cretaceous shoreline after Powell and Moh'd (2011).The oil shale distribution map of Jordan showing the constructed shoreline from Late Cretaceous to late Middle Eocene.

Azraq-Hamza Sub-basin is proposed to have been very steep and Regionally. Middle Eocene oil shales condensed section towards the east. Muwaqqar Chalk Marl Formation. El Kassas and Khaled. Jordan. 1979). (Shiranish Formation. tions in thickness over short distances indicate syndepositional 2006). juxtaposed to uplift of other blocks. (2012). tectonically active. sedimentation continued during the Maastrichtian. Yassini. Egypt. The eastern flank of the can also be found in other deep sub-basins in the Middle East. Duwi Formation. Absolute ages taken from Gradstein et al. Jassim and Gailani. Local movements in the Azraq. Iraq. 2006). oil shale deposition became more stratigraphic units are the main criteria to understand the paleo- widespread toward the east of Jordan and in the time-equivalent geographic changes of the depositional environment. The wide distribution of oil shales 2003). Some locations in Jordan. These in turn led to history (Aoudeh and Al-Hajri. Alqudah et al. cided with the Alpine Orogeny. An overall regressive regional sea level trend was subsidence of fault bound sub-basins during the Maastrichtian and . Conclusion Oil shales deposition continued during the Paleocene in Syria. These factors led to restricted oil Hamza Sub-basin in east-central Jordan led to favorable conditions shale deposition in deep sub-basins in central Jordan with a high for oil shale deposition. Syria and Iraq. Potentially. sea level the sub-basins.4. Eocene (e. Iraq and Qatar exhibit the during this period is thought to be related to the Syrian Arc extend of the hiati during the Late Paleocene. 2005). tectonic structures. Large varia- Alijan Formation in south Syria and Iraq (Jassim and Gailani. 1997. Sea level curve for the Late Cretaceous to late Middle Eocene. The Sirhan Sub-basin and the Al-Jawf Graben tigraphy throughout Jordan reveals that there are major regional underwent several episodes of active rifting throughout their long changes in the paleogeographic setting. Sirhan Turrayf Basin and Euphrates Basin) enhanced Many Middle East countries have Maastrichtian oil shale deposits the effect of the marine transgression.g. Lebanon and Jordan due to the Al-Jawf rifting that affected the Investigation of wells based on calcareous nannofossil biostra- regional topography. 7. The Late Maastrichtian Rutbah Uplift in Iraq and east Jordan formed a widespread hiatus (Jassim and Gailani. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 101 Figure 13. M. 14). The se- Three tectonic events influenced the geology of the Near East quences in Syria. the Al-Jawf mentation breaks during the Early Danian (Alsharhan and Nairn. rifting and the Alpine Orogeny. Syria and Iraq. Localized and affecting the regional sea level and influencing the deposition of oil accentuating subsidence movements of sub-basins during the Early shales in the epicontinental sea along southern Neo-Tethys margin. 2006. the Middle Eocene can be found in central Jordan. central east Jordan and Qatar show sedi- during the Maastrichtian to Paleogene: the Syrian Arc. 1994). This hiatus is due to 6. the rift was changes of the oil shale distribution through time across Jordan. rejuvenated. In the Paleocene. that the shallowing water levels no longer allowed oil shale superimposed on the Middle Eocene global regression and coin- deposition in central west Jordan. and subsidence history derived from the thickness of level during the Early Eocene. causing subsidence movements and the formation of The evaluation of the sub-basins. Regional correlations the sub-regional tectonic event which coincided with the Late Maastrichtian regression (Haq and Al-Qahtani. Relative sea level curve after Haq and Al-Qahtani (2005). With rising sea changes. These conditions changed into a highly amount of terrigenous input. Regional deposition during (Fig.

solitus (Bramlette and Sullivan 1961) Locker 1968 throughout the Early Eocene to Middle Eocene. A synchronous hiatus was recorded in the northwest of List of species in alphabetical order: Jordan. Alqudah et al. of the Sirhan Sub-basin. (2013). During the Late Paleocene hiati in Appendix most of the studied wells indicate continuing uplift of the Sirhan Sub-basin. danicus (Brotzen 1959) Hay and Mohler 1967 A major progradation of the paleoshoreline has been observed C. Mohler and Wade 1966 most wells a quieter period led to deposits representing the latest Paleocene (Zone NP 9). which represents Zone NP 14 coincides with the occurrence of thick successions in C. toward the southwest were detected in well OS-6 within thick sequences of zones NP 4 and 5. (2001). Brew et al. Paleogene. (2008). (1986). C. A major progradation of the oil shales occurred during the Late Maastrichtian. Flexer et al. / Marine and Petroleum Geology 60 (2015) 87e104 Figure 14. corresponds with an incides with a retrogradation of oil shale facies from west to the early Late Maastrichtian regressive event and probably with uplift east of central Jordan. Acknowledgment There is a gradual progradation from south to north during the Danian coinciding with a retrogradation of the oil shale facies in a The authors would like to thanks Royal Dutch Shell plc for thick succession of Zone NP 3. A low sedimentation rate in the Sirhan Sub-basin. We would like to thank the Jordan Oil Shale basin coincides with the Selandain regressive event and supports Company (JOSCO) for their support.102 M. The lithologies are taken from Alsharhan and Nairn (2003). (2002). Yoffe et al. Nizar Abu-Jaber and Robert Lemanis for helpful comments. El Kassas and Khaled (1997) and Farouk et al. We also would like to thank the further uplift of the Sirhan Sub-basin. Across Chiasmolithus Hay. Morsi et al. (2008). funding this project. Oil shales retrograding Prof. A major hiatus in the Sirhan Sub. Jassim and Gailani (2006). A major sea Coccolithus Schwarz 1894 level fall during Latest Ypresian to Early Lutetian. The Jordan. though this setting should be rather related to the Paleo- cene oil shales of northern Negev and southern Lebanon. crassus Bramlette and Sullivan 1961 . Regional correlation of lithological units including potential source rocks. Samuel et al. a thick southeast Jordan (well OS-6). while Middle Eocene oil shales become restricted to central Jordan. A subsidence of the Azraq-Hamza succession of oil shales was deposited in southeast and southwest Sub-basin during this period is the most likely explanation. being continuing regional marine regression during the Bartonian co- high at the same time in the Jafr Sub-basin. During a sea level rise in the Early Maastrichtian.

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