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Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb


zircon geochronology
B.H. Ali a, S.A. Wilde b,⁎, M.M.A. Gabr a
a
Nuclear Materials Authority, P.O. Box. 530, Cairo, Egypt
b
Department of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology, P.O. Box U1987, Perth, 6845, Western Australia

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

Article history: Late-stage Pan-African granitoids, including monzogranite, syenogranite and alkali granite, were collected
Received 20 March 2008 from four separate localities in Sinai. They were selected to represent both the calc-alkaline and alkaline
Received in revised form 6 June 2008 suites that have been viewed as forming separate magmatic episodes in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, with the
Accepted 9 June 2008
transition to alkali granite at ~ 610 Ma taken to mark the onset of crustal extension. Although intrusive
Available online xxxx
relations were observed in the field, the emplacement ages of the granitoids cannot be distinguished within
Keywords:
analytical uncertainty and they all formed within a restricted time span from 579 to 594 Ma. This indicates
U–Pb zircon dating that the two suites are coeval and that some calc-alkaline rocks were also likely generated during the late
Sinai extensional phase. These ages are identical to those recently obtained from similar rocks in the North-Eastern
Egypt Desert, confirming that Sinai is the northern extension of the Eastern Desert Pan-African terrane of Egypt.
Pan-African Rare inherited zircons with ages of ~ 1790 and ~ 740 Ma are present in syenogranite from northeastern Sinai
‘Younger’ granitoids and indicate that older material is present within the basement. A few zircons record younger ages and,
Alkali granites although some may reflect later disturbance of the main zircon population, those with ages of ~ 570 and
535 Ma probably reflect thermal events associated with the extensive emplacement of mafic and felsic dykes
in both northeastern and southern Sinai.
© 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Gondwana Research.

1. Introduction During the past 50 years, many schemes have been proposed to
categorize the Precambrian rocks of Egypt, especially the granitoids
The basement rocks in Egypt represent the northern part of the (see Akaad and El-Ramly, 1960; El-Shazly, 1964, 1980; Schürmann,
Arabian–Nubian shield, which cover most of NE Africa and the Arabian 1966; Sabet, 1972; El-Gaby, 1975; Akaad and Noweir, 1980; Hussein
Peninsula, with a total area of about 3 million km2. They are restricted et al., 1982). Earlier studies interpreted the evolution of these rocks
to the area between the River Nile and the Red Sea, where igneous and on the basis of classical geosynclinal models, with the geocynclines
metamorphic rocks of Precambrian age cover ~ 100,000 km2 of the considered to be ensialic and all rocks formed during successive
Eastern Desert, southern Sinai and limited areas of the southwestern stages of evolution. Most of these classifications came to a similar
Desert (Fig. 1). Several recent studies have addressed the various conclusion; that the Egyptian granitoids evolved during three main
aspects of the geology and tectonics of Egypt (Farahat et al., 2007; Gad cycles. The first covers the emplacement of the so-called ‘older
and Kusky, 2007; Zoheir and Klemm, 2007). granites’. The second cycle refers to the ‘younger granites’, which
The Eastern Desert has generally been considered as the type area comprises pink and red granites and associated pegmatites and
in Egypt for classifying the various rock units and the commonly aplites. They are homogeneous in composition and, when compared
accepted scheme, from oldest to youngest is: gneisses and migmatites, to the ‘older’ granites, are commonly richer in alkali-feldspar and
ophiolites and ‘older’ metavolcanics, ‘older’ granites, Dokhan Volca- poorer in ferromagnesian minerals. The third cycle is dominated by
nics, Hammamat Group, ‘younger’ granites, alkali granites and mafic alkali granites that commonly occur as high level plutons with
to felsic dykes. The terms ‘older’ and ‘younger’ granites were rounded and ovoid outlines, or as small masses with sharp contacts
introduced by Hume (1934) and later supported by El-Ramly and against the surrounding country rocks. However, a few of them form
Akaad (1960) and Akaad and Noweir (1980). steep sheets and ring dykes (El-Ramly and Akaad, 1960; Sabet, 1961,
1972) and El-Shazly (1964) named these granites the “Late Orogenic
Plutonites” and believed they were also younger than the Hamma-
mat Group sediments.
⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 8 9266 3580; fax: +61 8 9266 3153. Later studies, such as those of Bentor (1985), applied a plate
E-mail address: S.Wilde@curtin.edu.au (S.A. Wilde). tectonic model to the area and divided the Arabian–Nubian shield

1342-937X/$ – see front matter © 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Gondwana Research.
doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
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phase (650–590 Ma); and (iv) an alkaline batholithic phase (590–


550 Ma).
Some modern geochronological work using ion microprobe
techniques has been undertaken in the Eastern Desert and has
shown that, at the type locality, the Dokhan Volcanics were erupted
between 600 and 590 Ma (Wilde and Youssef, 2000) and that the lower
part of the Hammamat Group contains zircons as young as 585 ± 13 Ma
(Wilde and Youssef, 2002), indicating contemporaneous development
of these two sequences that critically subdivide the ‘older’ from the
‘younger’ granitoids. Youssef (2005) obtained SHRIMP U–Pb data
indicating ages of ~ 755–655 Ma for the ‘older’ granitoids at Gebel
Gattar and ages between 576 ± 6 and 594 ± 3 Ma for ‘younger granites’
in the area. A recent study by Moussa et al. (2008) reported an age of
623 ± 3 Ma for granodiorite from the ‘older granites’ and ages of 605–
595 Ma for certain ‘younger granites’ from across the Eastern Desert.
However, little work has been attempted in Sinai, although we are
aware of currently-unpublished work by Ben-Gurion University and the
Swedish Museum of Natural History. We therefore decided to determine
the age of several ‘younger’ granitoid and alkali granite plutons across
the peninsula in order to test if they were similar to the currently-
unpublished data obtained from the Eastern Desert by Youssef (2005).

2. Outline of the geology and geochronology of Sinai

Precambrian rocks cover about 20,000 km2 of the southern Sinai


Peninsula (Fig. 1) and comprise metamorphic, plutonic and volcanic
types, dissected by various dyke swarms. Eyal et al. (1994) mapped an
area of southwestern Sinai between long. 33° 45′ 0″ and 34° 0′ 0″ E
and lat. 28° 40′ to 29° 0′ N) and grouped the rocks into four units that
largely mirrored the events recognized in the Eastern Desert:

(a) The Island Arc Stage (~ 820–620 Ma) represented by the


‘Metamorphic Series’, found in the Solaf–Feiran belt (Fig. 1B),
the Wadi Shidiq and lower Wadi Isla area, and Gabal Araba
block. The ‘series’ consists of metasedimentary rocks, including
mica and chlorite schist, calc-silicate and conglomerate,
together with orthogneisses of granitic and dioritic composi-
tion that represent the remnants of four dismembered plutons.
(b) The Cratonization Stage (~620–580 Ma) is represented by
widespread calc-alkaline magmatism and associated sedimen-
tary rocks. The Rutig Formation of the Feirani Group is exposed
between the Katherine ring dyke and the Katherine Pluton (Fig.
1B). It comprises intermediate to acid lava flows and pyroclas-
tics, alternating with conglomerate and arkose. The plutonic
rocks range in composition from gabbro to granite and belong
to 13 different plutons.
(c) The Intra-Cratonic Stage (~ 580–540 Ma) is represented by
alkaline magmatic rocks. The main representative of this group
is the Katherine Ring Complex, which comprises alkali rhyolite,
quartz monzonite and quartz syenite of the ring dyke itself, and
biotite leucogranite of the Katherine Pluton. Also belonging to
this stage are the volcanic rocks of Gabal Abu-Durba, and the
alkali granite of the Sahara and Serbal plutons (Fig. 1B).

Fig. 1. (A) Overall distribution of Pan-African rocks in Egypt. Rectangle marks outline to As indicated above, there are few published geochronological studies
b. (B) Simplified geological map of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt (after Shimron, 1980),
in the area. Abd El-Karim and Arva-Sos (1992) dated some of the ‘older’
showing location of the four study areas: 1 — Wadi Ghazala; 2 — Wadi Nasb; 3 — Wadi
Lithi; 4 — Wadi Seih. Also shown are: A — Wadi Feiran; B — Gabal Serbal; C— Katherine granites (diorite, tonalite and granodiorite) in southwestern Sinai using
Ring Complex; and D — Gabal Abu-Durba area, as mentioned in the text. K–Ar techniques and these gave ages ranging between 653 ± 26 Ma
and 567 ± 22 Ma. However, these are unlikely to represent emplace-
ment ages due to the low closure temperature of the K–Ar system.
The ‘younger’ granites (monzogranite, syenogranite and alkali-
into the following four evolutionary events or phases: (i) an oceanic feldspar granite) gave K–Ar isochron ages ranging between 609 ±
phase (1100–900 Ma), characterized by the emplacement of oceanic 23 Ma and 568 ± 22 Ma, which correspond to phases (iii) and (iv) of
tholeiites (including ophiolites) and their plutonic equivalents; (ii) an Bentor (1985).
island arc phase (950–650 Ma), mainly represented by andesitic Bielski et al. (1979) reported a Rb/Sr whole rock isochron age for a
volcanism and dioritic plutonism; (iii) a calc-alkaline batholithic syenogranite pluton of the Iqna granite in the Wadi Kid area,

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana

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Fig. 2. (A) Simplified geological map for the Wadi Ghazala area (modified after Gabr, 2002); (B) Simplified geological map for the Wadi Nasb area (modified after El-Masry et al., 2005); (C) Simplified geological map for the Wadi Lithi area
(modified after Mosalhi, 2006); (D) Simplified geological map for the Wadi Seih area (modified after Gabr, 2005).

3
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southeastern Sinai, of 580 ± 23 Ma, suggesting that the Iqna granite the Sinai Peninsula (Fig. 1). A brief outline of the geology of these areas
belongs to the youngest plutonic intrusions of the Arabian–Nubian is given below.
shield. More recently, Moghazi et al. (1998) reported Rb–Sr whole rock
ages of ~581 Ma for quartz monzodiorite, ~ 576 Ma for granodiorite– 2.1. Wadi Ghazala
monzogranite and ~570 Ma for monzogranite from the same area.
Kröner et al. (1994) obtained single zircon U–Pb ages using the The area covers ~70 km2 (long. 34° 27′ 15″ to 34° 36′ 11″ E and lat. 28°
evaporation method from a dioritic gneiss at Wadi Feiran in southwest 58′ to 29° 03′ N) and a geological map (Fig. 2A) was constructed using
Sinai (Fig. 1B), indicating emplacement of the protolith at 796 ± 6 Ma, aerial photographs at a scale of 1:40,000. Detailed field study of the
comparable with ages of granitoids from northeast Sinai determined exposed rock units reveals that the area consists mainly of mafic to felsic
by Stern and Manton (1987). Kröner et al. (1994) concluded that the igneous rocks cut by dykes exhibiting a similar range in composition.
gneiss was derived from remelting of older continental crust, According to the field relationships, these rock units are chronologically,
interpreted as reflecting subduction-related calc-alkaline magmatism from oldest to youngest: (a) biotite schist, (b) metagabbro–diorite
during early Pan-African magmatic arc formation. complex, (c) gneissic granite, (d) quartz diorite, (e) syenogranite, and (f)
In the present study the SHRIMP II ion microprobe was used for the post-‘younger’ granite dykes.
first time to determine the U–Pb age and geological evolution of some Sample WT2 is typical of the syenogranite from Wadi Ghazala and
of the key ‘younger’ granitic (including alkaline) rocks in four areas of is the dominant rock-type in the area (Gabr, 2002). It is pink, medium

Fig. 3. Zircon U–Pb concordia diagrams for rocks from Sinai, (A) sample WT2 and (B) sample DA1.

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
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B.H. Ali et al. / Gondwana Research xxx (2008) xxx–xxx 5

to coarse-grained and composed of K-feldspar, quartz, plagioclase The analytical spot size ranged between 25 and 30 μm, and each
(An8–16) and biotite, with minor opaques, zircon and allanite. The rock spot was rastered over 120 μm for 3 min prior to analysis to remove
has microperthitic, myrmekitic and granophyric textures. any common Pb on the surface or contamination from the gold
coating. The 206Pb/238U data are considered to be the most reliable for
2.2. Wadi Nasb area young zircons and are utilized here, since the low count rate on 207Pb
results in large statistical uncertainties and therefore the207Pb/206Pb
The Precambrian rocks are exposed between long. 34° 15′ and 34° and 207Pb/235U ratios become a less sensitive measure of age
30′ E and lat. 28° 25′ to 28° 32′ 30″ N (Fig. 2B) and comprise, from (Compston et al., 1992). Data were processed using SQUID (Ludwig,
oldest to youngest: (a) migmatites, (b) Feirani Group (felsic volcanics 2001a) and Isoplot (Ludwig, 2001b) software. Uncertainties for
and sub-volcanics), (c) quartz diorite–tonalite association, (d) mon- individual analyses are quoted at 1σ whereas the weighted mean
zogranite, (e) Jabal Laiq Ring Dyke, and (f) syenogranite. ages are quoted at the 95% confidence level (2σ).
Sample DA1 is a syenogranite representative of the latest bath-
olithic granitoid phase exposed in southern Sinai (Gabr, 2005). The 4. Results
granite is pink-coloured and sharply intrudes earlier Precambrian
rocks and is itself sparsely cut by dykes. The syenogranite is composed Zircons extracted from syenogranite sample WT2, collected from
mainly of K-feldspar, quartz and plagioclase, with minor biotite; the Wadi Ghazala area (Fig. 2A), are mostly stubby, pale brown in
zircon, apatite and opaques are accessories. colour with euhedral shape, although some grains show marginal
pitting. There are numerous scattered inclusions of apatite. A total of
2.3. Wadi Lithi area 18 measurements were made on 18 zircon crystals (Table 1) and these
are presented on a concordia plot in Fig. 3A. They were run with 15
The granitoid rocks exposed at Wadi Lithi (long. 33° 55′ to 34° 12′ E analyses of the CZ3 standard that recorded a 1σ variation in Pb/U
and lat. 28° 00′ to 28° 8′ N), to the north of Ras Mohamed (Fig. 2A), are isotopic ratios of 1.47% over the analytical session. With one exception
classified into rapakivi monzogranite, monzogranite and alkali- (analysis WT2-4, Table 1), the U content varies from 100–350 ppm, the
feldspar granite; the latter represented by riebeckite granite and Th content from 32–122 ppm and the Th/U ratio from 0.19–0.52
microgranite. (average 0.36). Spot WT2-4 has higher U and Th contents of 741 and
Rapakivi monzogranite crops out over an area of 55 km2 and as 571 ppm, respectively, and a higher Th/U ratio of 0.77. This spot, along
elongated masses in the upstream section of Wadi Lithi. It is cut by with analysis WT2-5, shows reverse discordance and records an older
206
dyke swarms varying in composition from basic to acid and trending Pb/238U age than the other sixteen analyses, with a weighted mean
either NE-SW or NW-SE. The alkali granite forms the highest age of 741 ± 8 Ma (chi-square = 0.51). The bulk of the analyses (n = 14) is
mountains in the mapped area and intruded the monzogranite. tightly grouped and concordant, defining a weighted mean 206Pb/238U
Samples G1 and E1 represent monzogranite and alkali-feldspar age of 582 ± 6 Ma (chi-square = 0.39), which is interpreted as the age of
granite, respectively. The monzogranite is composed of plagioclase, crystallization of the syenogranite. Two zircons record slightly
K-feldspar, quartz, biotite and hornblende, with accessory titanite, younger 206Pb/238U ages of 549 ± 9 Ma (WT2-7) and 528 ± 8 Ma
zircon, apatite and opaques, and secondary chlorite, kaolinite, (WT2-10). The former contains a high proportion of common 206Pb
muscovite, epidote and sericite (Mosalhi, 2006). The alkali-feldspar and has a higher 204Pb/206Pb ratio (Table 1), indicating that it may have
granite is medium- to coarse-grained and composed mainly of K- been affected by later alteration. Spot WT10, however, does not show
feldspar, with quartz, riebeckite, arfvedsonite, aegirine, biotite and these characteristics and may record the affect of a later thermal event
plagioclase. The accessory minerals are allanite, zircon and opaques, in the area, possibly intrusion of the abundant dykes.
with secondary kaolinite, chlorite and sericite (Mosalhi, 2006). Zircon crystals from the syenogranite exposed in Wadi Nasb
(sample DA1) are mostly stubby and range from colourless to pale
2.4. Wadi Seih area pink; some crystals are more elongate with length to width ratios up
to 3:1. A few grains show slight cracking and marginal pitting. The
Alkali granite occurs as small scattered intrusions in syenogranite sample was run against 7 analyses of the CZ3 standard that recorded a
that are exposed at Wadi Seih (long.33° 43′ to 33° 47′ E and lat. 28° 58′ 1σ variation in Pb/U isotopic ratios of 0.98% over the analytical session.
to 29° 00′ N, (Fig. 3B). The rocks are considered to be a member of the A total of 11 analyses were made on 11 zircon crystals (Table 1) and
late alkaline series. one grain records a 207Pb/206Pb age of 1789 ± 56 Ma, indicating that it is
Sample 101 is a pink, medium- to coarse-grained alkali granite inherited. The remaining results (n = 10) are presented on a concordia
composed mainly of perthite, quartz, riebeckite, biotite and plagio- diagram in Fig. 3B, where the data are tightly clustered on or near
clase. The accessory minerals are allanite, zircon and opaques, with concordia. These zircons show a range in U content from 64–205 ppm,
secondary chlorite and sericite. in Th from 23–96 ppm, and have a small range in Th/U ratio from 0.31–
0.49 (average = 0.41). They define a 206Pb/238U age of 594 ± 8 Ma (chi-
3. Analytical procedure square = 1.69) which is taken to be time of crystallization of the
syenogranite.
Approximately 0.5 kg of sample was crushed and sieved to pass Monzogranite sample (G1) from Wadi Lithi contains zircon crystals
through −100 mesh. Zircon crystals were extracted using a combina- that are colourless and euhedral prismatic and that range in length
tion of heavy liquid and magnetic separation techniques. About 70 from 150–250 μm, with length to width ratios up to 3:1.5. Many
grains from the non-magnetic fraction were hand picked and contain inclusions of apatite. A total of 13 analyses were made on 12
mounted onto double-sided adhesive tape and set in Epirez™ resin zircon grains (Table 1), along with 4 analyses of the CZ3 standard that
along with several grains of Curtin University Sri Lankan gem zircon recorded a 1σ variation in Pb/U isotopic ratios of 2.47% over the
standard (CZ3) which has a conventionally measured 207Pb/206Pb age analytical session (note that the standards are fewer than the ideal
of 564 Ma (Nelson, 1997). When dry, the mounted zircons were number and the Pb/U variation higher than normal due to instability
ground and polished to effectively cut them in half and the mount was of the secondary beam during this particular session — hence the
gold coated. U–Th–Pb analyses were performed using a SHRIMP II ion larger uncertainties on the data in Table 1). There is considerable
microprobe at Curtin University following standard techniques, variation in the U and Th contents of these monzogranite zircon
similar to those described by Nelson (1997) and Williams (1998) grains, which range from 113–1839 ppm and 37–383 ppm, respec-
utilizing seven-cycle runs through the mass stations. tively. There is less variation in the Th/U ratio, which ranges from 0.15–

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
6
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana

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Table 1
SHRIMP Th–U–Pb zircon data from granitoid rocks in Sinai, Egypt

AGE
204 208 207 206 207 208 208 207 207 206
Spot U Th Th/U Pb Pb/ Pb/ ± f206% Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ± %Conc Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ± Pb⁎/ ±
206 232 206 238 235 232 232 235 206 238
ppm ppm ppm Pb Th Pb⁎ U U Th Th U Pb⁎ U
WT2
WT2-1 193 74 0.38 19 0.00021 0.03055 0.00070 0.344 0.05929 0.00169 0.0953 0.0015 0.78 0.03 0.0287 0.0011 102 571 21 585 15 578 62 587 9
WT2-2 172 58 0.34 19 0.00257 0.05293 0.00112 4.105 0.05617 0.00496 0.0953 0.0016 0.74 0.07 0.0263 0.0032 128 525 63 561 40 459 197 587 9
WT2-3 169 57 0.34 19 0.00289 0.06394 0.00138 4.625 0.06383 0.00486 0.0957 0.0016 0.84 0.07 0.0337 0.0032 80 670 62 621 37 736 162 589 9
WT2-4 741 571 0.77 103 0.00048 0.03841 0.00060 0.768 0.06080 0.00089 0.1219 0.0018 1.02 0.02 0.0357 0.0006 117 709 12 715 11 632 32 741 10
WT2-5 148 28 0.19 20 0.00272 0.08277 0.00210 4.348 0.05227 0.00525 0.1243 0.0021 0.90 0.09 0.0179 0.0077 254 359 152 649 50 298 228 755 12
WT2-6 206 98 0.47 23 0.00181 0.04353 0.00087 2.897 0.06071 0.00354 0.0961 0.0015 0.80 0.05 0.0302 0.0017 94 601 34 599 28 629 126 592 9
WT2-7 219 98 0.45 35 0.01054 0.12623 0.00235 16.859 0.04920 0.00915 0.0888 0.0016 0.60 0.11 0.0371 0.0043 349 737 83 479 72 157 385 549 10
WT2-8 350 122 0.35 33 0.00016 0.02847 0.00056 0.256 0.05716 0.00100 0.0937 0.0014 0.74 0.02 0.0269 0.0007 116 537 14 562 11 498 39 577 8
WT2-9 130 55 0.42 13 0.00035 0.02904 0.00072 0.559 0.05643 0.00243 0.0931 0.0015 0.72 0.03 0.0263 0.0013 122 525 25 553 20 469 95 574 9
WT2-10 190 99 0.52 18 0.00037 0.02987 0.00063 0.589 0.05946 0.00199 0.0853 0.0013 0.70 0.03 0.0277 0.0009 90 553 17 539 16 584 73 528 8
WT2-11 281 93 0.33 28 0.00110 0.04147 0.00081 1.760 0.06026 0.00239 0.0946 0.0014 0.79 0.03 0.0302 0.0016 95 601 32 589 20 613 86 583 9
WT2-12 178 54 0.30 17 0.00006 0.03071 0.00074 0.091 0.06042 0.00131 0.0930 0.0015 0.77 0.02 0.0301 0.0010 93 599 19 583 13 619 47 573 9
WT2-13 265 74 0.28 24 0.00022 0.02928 0.00064 0.345 0.05772 0.00124 0.0933 0.0014 0.74 0.02 0.0267 0.0010 111 533 19 564 12 519 47 575 8
WT2-14 100 32 0.32 10 0.00102 0.04129 0.00116 1.634 0.06313 0.00423 0.0938 0.0016 0.82 0.06 0.0307 0.0028 81 610 56 606 33 712 143 578 10
WT2-15 160 44 0.28 17 0.00224 0.05636 0.00125 3.583 0.05643 0.00433 0.0941 0.0015 0.73 0.06 0.0283 0.0034 124 564 67 558 35 469 171 580 9
WT2-16 165 59 0.36 16 0.00009 0.02974 0.00070 0.149 0.06212 0.00179 0.0946 0.0015 0.81 0.03 0.0289 0.0011 86 575 22 603 16 678 62 583 9
WT2-17 133 39 0.30 13 0.00010 0.03132 0.00081 0.155 0.06196 0.00210 0.0950 0.0015 0.81 0.03 0.0302 0.0015 87 602 30 604 18 673 73 585 9
WT2-18 205 89 0.43 20 0.00003 0.02903 0.00062 0.049 0.06071 0.00137 0.0945 0.0015 0.79 0.02 0.0288 0.0008 93 574 16 592 13 629 49 582 9

DA-1
DA1-1.1 73 23 0.31 7 0.00017 0.02975 0.00084 0.271 0.05809 0.00476 0.0968 0.0014 0.78 0.07 0.0279 0.0034 112 556 67 583 38 533 180 596 8
DA1-2.1 111 48 0.43 11 0.00008 0.03046 0.00066 0.128 0.05790 0.00276 0.0987 0.0012 0.79 0.04 0.0298 0.0015 115 594 30 590 23 526 105 607 7
DA1-3.1 147 72 0.49 15 0.00022 0.02961 0.00054 0.349 0.05766 0.00204 0.0957 0.0011 0.76 0.03 0.0281 0.0010 114 560 20 574 17 517 78 589 6
DA1-4.1 38 43 1.12 16 0.00083 0.10131 0.00198 1.331 0.10936 0.00338 0.3259 0.0047 4.91 0.18 0.0927 0.0028 102 1791 52 1805 30 1789 56 1818 23
DA1-5.1 119 45 0.38 12 0.00024 0.02919 0.00063 0.391 0.05610 0.00231 0.0974 0.0012 0.75 0.03 0.0269 0.0014 131 537 28 570 19 456 91 599 7
DA1-6.1 90 35 0.39 9 0.00049 0.02939 0.00070 0.776 0.05182 0.00387 0.0957 0.0013 0.68 0.05 0.0252 0.0022 212 502 44 529 32 278 171 589 8
DA1-7.1 205 96 0.47 21 0.00011 0.03001 0.00050 0.177 0.05821 0.00120 0.0987 0.0011 0.79 0.02 0.0292 0.0007 113 582 14 592 11 538 45 607 6
DA1-8.1 132 53 0.40 13 0.00064 0.03080 0.00064 1.019 0.05194 0.00287 0.0964 0.0012 0.69 0.04 0.0253 0.0016 210 505 32 533 24 283 127 593 7
DA1-9.1 178 79 0.44 17 0.00014 0.03003 0.00052 0.227 0.06050 0.00160 0.0949 0.0011 0.79 0.02 0.0290 0.0009 94 577 17 592 13 622 57 584 6
DA1-10.1 112 46 0.42 11 0.00003 0.03112 0.00065 0.043 0.05969 0.00216 0.0971 0.0012 0.80 0.03 0.0309 0.0012 101 615 24 596 18 592 78 597 7
DA1-11.1 64 26 0.41 6 0.00054 0.02990 0.00080 0.863 0.05518 0.00427 0.0934 0.0014 0.71 0.06 0.0256 0.0023 137 510 44 545 34 419 173 575 8
G-1
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana

G1-1 1839 383 0.21 197 0.00002 0.0324 0.0008 0.028 0.05961 0.00030 0.1111 0.0027 0.91 0.02 0.0320 0.0008 115 637 16 659 12 589 11 679 16
G1-2 159 72 0.45 17 0.00024 0.0315 0.0010 0.387 0.05921 0.00182 0.1001 0.0025 0.82 0.03 0.0296 0.0012 107 590 24 606 19 575 67 615 15
G1-3 340 50 0.15 35 0.00007 0.0353 0.0011 0.104 0.06015 0.00088 0.1079 0.0027 0.89 0.03 0.0336 0.0015 109 669 30 649 15 609 31 661 16
G1-4 287 106 0.37 29 0.00004 0.0311 0.0009 0.071 0.06046 0.00087 0.1006 0.0025 0.84 0.03 0.0307 0.0010 100 611 19 619 14 620 31 618 15
G1-5a 595 109 0.18 60 0.00006 0.0317 0.0009 0.088 0.05964 0.00066 0.1044 0.0026 0.86 0.02 0.0306 0.0011 108 609 21 629 13 591 24 640 15
G1-5b 957 146 0.15 94 0.00003 0.0310 0.0009 0.044 0.05911 0.00048 0.1028 0.0025 0.84 0.02 0.0304 0.0009 110 605 18 618 12 571 18 631 15
G1-6 216 93 0.43 22 0.00004 0.0308 0.0009 0.061 0.06063 0.00126 0.1003 0.0025 0.84 0.03 0.0304 0.0010 98 606 20 618 16 626 45 616 15
G1-7 280 93 0.33 26 0.00006 0.0302 0.0009 0.090 0.05997 0.00122 0.0935 0.0023 0.77 0.03 0.0296 0.0011 96 590 21 582 15 602 44 576 14
G1-8 113 37 0.33 11 0.00004 0.0311 0.0011 0.070 0.06116 0.00217 0.1006 0.0026 0.85 0.04 0.0306 0.0017 96 609 33 624 22 645 76 618 15
G1-9 882 227 0.26 86 0.00019 0.0323 0.0008 0.312 0.06109 0.00075 0.0986 0.0024 0.83 0.02 0.0297 0.0010 94 591 19 614 13 642 26 606 14
G1-10 136 46 0.33 13 0.00021 0.0321 0.0011 0.329 0.05795 0.00240 0.0911 0.0024 0.73 0.04 0.0301 0.0017 106 600 34 555 22 528 91 562 14
G1-11 545 194 0.36 59 0.00001 0.0319 0.0008 0.012 0.05967 0.00060 0.1076 0.0026 0.89 0.02 0.0318 0.0009 111 632 17 644 13 592 22 659 15
G1-12 141 54 0.38 16 0.00004 0.0330 0.0010 0.063 0.06079 0.00174 0.1087 0.0028 0.91 0.04 0.0326 0.0014 105 648 28 658 20 632 62 665 16

E-1
E1-1 366 124 0.34 58 0.00870 0.1518 0.0025 13.924 0.07672 0.00614 0.0938 0.0014 0.99 0.08 0.0530 0.0040 52 1043 76 700 42 1114 160 578 8
E1-2 272 89 0.33 26 0.00036 0.0290 0.0006 0.583 0.05759 0.00153 0.0936 0.0013 0.74 0.02 0.0253 0.0010 112 505 20 564 14 514 58 577 8
E1-3 287 128 0.45 27 0.00008 0.0302 0.0005 0.128 0.06039 0.00121 0.0916 0.0013 0.76 0.02 0.0296 0.0007 91 590 14 576 11 617 43 565 7
E1-4 156 68 0.44 15 0.00011 0.0304 0.0007 0.176 0.05856 0.00192 0.0949 0.0014 0.77 0.03 0.0296 0.0011 106 590 21 578 17 551 72 585 8

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E1-5 204 66 0.32 14 0.00159 0.0304 0.0007 2.549 0.05472 0.00388 0.0607 0.0009 0.46 0.03 0.0195 0.0017 95 390 34 383 24 401 159 380 6

B.H. Ali et al. / Gondwana Research xxx (2008) xxx–xxx


E1-6 240 108 0.45 24 0.00019 0.0294 0.0006 0.299 0.05874 0.00150 0.0946 0.0013 0.77 0.02 0.0280 0.0008 104 557 16 578 13 558 56 583 8
E1-7 127 59 0.47 13 0.00035 0.0306 0.0007 0.553 0.05837 0.00237 0.0952 0.0014 0.77 0.03 0.0281 0.0012 108 559 23 578 20 544 89 586 8
E1-8 498 172 0.35 46 0.00004 0.0296 0.0005 0.065 0.05971 0.00077 0.0927 0.0012 0.76 0.01 0.0292 0.0006 96 582 12 576 9 593 28 571 7
E1-9 249 138 0.55 25 0.00004 0.0304 0.0006 0.057 0.05967 0.00131 0.0958 0.0013 0.79 0.02 0.0302 0.0007 100 601 14 590 12 592 48 590 8
E1-10 571 143 0.25 49 0.00008 0.0306 0.0005 0.134 0.05859 0.00076 0.0864 0.0011 0.70 0.01 0.0296 0.0007 97 589 13 538 8 552 28 534 7

101
101-1.1 733 265 0.36 70 0.00001 0.0291 0.0003 0.024 0.05964 0.00054 0.0951 0.0008 0.78 0.01 0.0290 0.0004 99 578 8 586 6 590 20 585 5
101-2.1 390 125 0.32 38 0.00002 0.0300 0.0004 0.033 0.05983 0.00076 0.0969 0.0009 0.80 0.01 0.0298 0.0006 100 594 12 597 7 598 28 596 5
101-3.1 484 128 0.27 48 0.00152 0.0387 0.0005 2.436 0.04748 0.00185 0.0950 0.0008 0.62 0.03 0.0189 0.0015 774 379 30 491 16 76 88 585 5
101-4.1 599 171 0.29 57 0.00022 0.0299 0.0004 0.350 0.05736 0.00082 0.0959 0.0008 0.76 0.01 0.0273 0.0007 117 545 13 573 8 505 31 590 5
101-5.1 437 112 0.26 41 0.00010 0.0295 0.0004 0.157 0.05842 0.00084 0.0968 0.0008 0.78 0.01 0.0281 0.0007 109 561 15 585 8 546 31 596 5
101-6.1 551 162 0.29 52 0.00004 0.0298 0.0004 0.070 0.06075 0.00078 0.0959 0.0008 0.80 0.01 0.0293 0.0006 94 584 12 598 7 630 28 590 5
101-7.1 820 244 0.30 78 0.00000 0.0291 0.0003 0.000 0.06025 0.00032 0.0961 0.0008 0.80 0.01 0.0291 0.0003 97 580 6 596 5 613 12 592 5
101-8.1 1379 542 0.39 136 0.00011 0.0294 0.0003 0.169 0.05832 0.00040 0.0969 0.0008 0.78 0.01 0.0285 0.0003 110 568 6 585 5 542 15 596 5

⁎Common lead corrected using 204Pb.


f206% is (common 206Pb/total 206Pb) × 100.
%Conc = % concordance defined as [(206Pb/238U age)/(207Pb/206Pb age)] × 100.

7
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8 B.H. Ali et al. / Gondwana Research xxx (2008) xxx–xxx

Fig. 4. Zircon U–Pb concordia diagrams for rocks from Sinai, (A) sample G1, (B) sample E1 and (C) sample 101.

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
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B.H. Ali et al. / Gondwana Research xxx (2008) xxx–xxx 9

0.45 (average = 0.30). The analyses are concordant to weakly dis- southwestern Sinai that recorded somewhat less precise K–Ar
cordant (Table 1) and appear to define a trend on concordia that isochron ages ranging between 609 ± 23 Ma and 568 ± 22 Ma as well
extends from weakly reversely discordant to weakly normally as the Rb–Sr whole rock ages of 581–570 Ma recorded from ‘younger’
discordant (Fig. 4A): the two youngest points lie off this trend and granitoids in the Wadi Kid area of southeast Sinai by Moghazi et al.
are discussed separately below. The eleven data points that define this (1998). When the uncertainties on the current data are taken into
trend record an Isoplot (Ludwig, 2001a,b) intercept age of 597 ± 42 Ma consideration, it is not possible to define an evolutionary trend within
(MSWD = 1.2). An alternative way of treating reversely discordant ion- the sample suite; the monzogranite, syenogranite and alkali granite
probe data is to use the 207Pb/206Pb weighed mean, since increased essentially formed coevally at ~ 580–595 Ma. The results fall within
sputtering of Pb relative to U can occur during analysis of U-rich grains the ‘cratonization’ stage (~ 620–580 Ma) of Eyal et al. (1994) based on
(Wingate et al., 1998). When applied here, the weighted mean 207Pb/ their work in southwest Sinai.
206
Pb age of these eleven analyses is 594 ± 14 Ma (chi-square = 0.62). Some zircons analyzed in the present study have older U–Pb ages.
We interpret this as the best estimate of the emplacement age of the These reflect the incorporation of xenocrystic zircons, either inherited
monzogranite intrusion. The two younger analytical spots record a from the source region or incorporated by wall rock contamination
weighted mean 206Pb/238U age of 569 ± 10 Ma. There is no evidence during ascent of the magma. Two zircons in sample WT1 (analyses
from the Th–U–Pb data (Table 1) for this difference and it may be that WT2-4 and WT2-5) from Wadi Ghazala in northeastern Sinai (Fig. 1),
they represent zircons that grew in response to a later thermal event, show slight reverse discordance and record older 206Pb/238U ages of
possibly the emplacement of later dykes in the area. 741 ± 10 and 755 ± 12 Ma, respectively. These are somewhat older than
Alkali-feldspar granite from Wadi Lithi (sample E1) intrudes the the traditional age attributed to the ‘older’ granitoids in the Eastern
monzogranite described above and contains zircon crystals that are Desert of 610–711 Ma by Stern and Hedge (1985), based on Rb/Sr data,
small in size (≤150 μm) and brown in colour, with some cracks and but may nonetheless reflect this magmatic episode. Indeed, a
surface pitting. A total of 10 analyses were obtained on 10 zircons, significant age peak at ~ 750 Ma was present in the detrital zircon
along with 11 analyses of the CZ3 standard that recorded a 1σ population of the Hammamat sediments at Gebel Umm Tawat (Wilde
variation in Pb/U isotopic ratios of 1.34% over the analytical session. and Youssef, 2002), indicating the availability of such a source in the
The data (Table 1) reveal a range in U content from 127–571 ppm, in Th North-Eastern Desert. Moussa et al. (2008) likewise found inheritance
from 59–172, with a range in Th/U ratio from 0.25–0.55 (aver- in the ‘younger granites’ of the Eastern Desert with zircon populations
age = 0.40). The bulk of the analyses (n = 8) defines a 206Pb/238U age of recording ages of ~710–690, ~675–650 and ~635–610 Ma. At Wadi
579 ± 9 Ma (chi-square = 1.02) (Fig. 4B). It makes no difference if the Nasb, one grain in sample DA1 records a 207Pb/206Pb age of 1789 ±
more discordant analysis (E1-1) is omitted from the calculation, 56 Ma, indicating it was inherited from a Paleoproterozoic source.
although it is noted that this spot has a high value of common 206Pb Such old zircons have not been reported in other studies and.
(Table 1). There are two younger concordant grains with ages of 534 ± traditionally, older Proterozoic components are considered to be
7 Ma and 380 ± 6 Ma. The former is within error of the younger grains absent from the northern part of the Pan-African terrane of north
in sample WT2, suggesting it may have geological significance; the Africa (Stern and Hedge, 1985). However, rare detrital zircons of this
younger age is more difficult to explain, since events at this time have age were also recorded in the Hammamat sediments by Wilde and
not been recorded by previous studies in the area. Youssef (2002) and, based on the close similarity in age of the late
The alkali-feldspar granite from Wadi Seih (sample 101) (Fig. 2B) granitoid events in the Eastern Desert and Sinai, may also be present
contains small crystals of zircon, 100–300 μm long and 30–100 μm farther to the north, although there are insufficient data for Sinai to
wide, that are prismatic with pyramidal terminations. A majority of suggest the possible source. Although further work is clearly required
the grains are dark and metamict and it was only possible to obtain a to test the significance of these older grains, it may be significant that
limited amount of data from this sample, with a total of 8 analyses they were only recorded in the two samples obtained from the far
made on 8 grains (Table 1). These were collected along with 7 north-east of Sinai (Fig. 1).
analyses of the CZ3 standard with a 1σ variation in Pb/U isotopic In addition to older inherited grains, there are also a few younger
ratios of 0.87% over the analytical session. The U content is fairly high zircons present in the granitoids analyzed from Sinai. Although one
and ranges from 390–1379 ppm, Th ranges from 112–542 ppm, and grain with high U in sample WT2 from Wadi Ghazala was considered
the Th/U ratio ranges from 0.26–0.39 (average = 0.31). All but one of to reflect lead loss, most are concordant and probably record the
the analyses (101–3.1) is concordant or nearly so (Fig. 4C) but there is emplacement of abundant mafic and felsic dykes at both Wadi
no difference in error if this grain is excluded from the calculation. Ghazala and Wadi Lithi (Fig. 1), as recognized from the fieldwork. The
Therefore the 206Pb/238U age of 591 ± 6 Ma of all eight analyses (chi- age of 380 ± 6 Ma recorded from one zircon in sample E1 from Wadi
square = 0.80) is taken to record the time of crystallization of this Lithi is considerably younger than any known events affecting the
alkali-feldspar granite. Precambrian of Egypt and its origin is unknown.

5. Discussion 5.2. Comparison with events in the Eastern Desert

5.1. Late granitoid evolution in Sinai The new U–Pb zircon results from Sinai are consistent with the
ages quoted for the ‘younger’ granites in the Eastern Desert region of
The present study is the first to date the ‘younger’ granites in Sinai Egypt; 620 to 530 Ma according to Hassan and Hashad (1990). They
using precise modern techniques (SHRIMP U–Pb zircon). Rocks are also almost identical to the unpublished SHRIMP data of Youssef
obtained from the four localities across the peninsula (Fig. 1) were (2005), who obtained ages between 576 ± 6 and 594 ± 3 for the
selected as representative of both the calc-alkaline and alkaline ‘younger’ granitoids in the Eastern Desert near Gabal Dokhan,
granitoid suites. The ages of the five samples show a total spread from including some alkaline granitoids. This indicates that late Pan-
579 ± 9 Ma (sample G1 from Wadi Lithi) to 594 ± 14(8) Ma (samples E1 African magmatism was coeval in these two regions and confirms that
from Wadi Lithi and DA1 from Wadi Nasb, respectively). Importantly, Sinai is geologically the northern extension of the Eastern Desert of
there is complete overlap between the ages of the monzogranites/ Egypt. Interestingly, these results are also in harmony with the much
syenogranites (582 ± 6 to 594 ± 14 Ma) and the alkali granites (579 ± 9 earlier conclusions of Stern and Hedge (1985) regarding the age of the
to 591 ± 6 Ma). The present data are in close agreement with the earlier ‘younger’ granites, based on Rb–Sr techniques.
results of Abd El-Karim and Arva-Sos (1992) for some of the ‘younger’ Beyth et al. (1994) considered that the ‘younger’ granites evolved
granites (monzogranite, syenogranite and alkali-feldspar granite) in in an extensional anorogenic environment, although this is not

Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
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10 B.H. Ali et al. / Gondwana Research xxx (2008) xxx–xxx

consistent with the tectonic model of Bentor (1985), who grouped to Prof. Dr I. El-Assy (former vice-president of the Nuclear Materials
these within his ‘calc-alkaline batholithic phase’ between 650 and Authority of Egypt) for his support and help during sampling and
590 Ma and also separated out a younger event at 590–550 Ma to revision of the manuscript. We thank Robert Stern and H.M. Rajesh for
account for the alkali granites. Our data indicate that the calc-alkaline their constructive reviews. The SHRIMP II facility in Perth is operated
and alkaline granitoids are coeval at Sinai, a result also established for jointly by Curtin University of Technology, the University of Western
the Eastern Desert by Youssef (2005). Thus, the view of Bentor (1985) Australia and the Geological Survey of Western Australia, with support
that the alkali granites evolved at a later stage is not supported by our from the Australian Research Council. This is The Institute for
new data. It appears likely that all rocks of the ‘younger’ granite suite Geoscience Research (TIGeR) publication No. 127.
evolved in an anorogenic setting, post-collisional setting, but that
different source rocks were melted. Some gave rise to alkali granites References
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Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009
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Please cite this article as: Ali, B.H., et al., Granitoid evolution in Sinai, Egypt, based on precise SHRIMP U–Pb zircon geochronology, Gondwana
Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.009