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Turonian Rudist Facies from Abu Roash area, North Western Desert, Egypt

Article  in  Journal of African Earth Sciences · March 2011

DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2011.01.008


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4 authors:

Gouda Ismail Abdel Gawad Shaban Ghanem Saber

Beni Suef University Beni Suef University


Soheir H. El-Shazly Yasser Salama

Beni Suef University Beni Suef University


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Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

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Turonian Rudist Facies from Abu Roash area, North Western Desert, Egypt
G.I. Abdel-Gawad, S.G. Saber ⇑, S.H. El Shazly, Y.F. Salama
Geology Department, Beni Suef University, Beni Suef, Egypt

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

Article history: Five radiolitid rudist species are described from the Turonian sequence of Abu Roash area. They are rec-
Received 6 June 2010 ognized in three rudist biostromes that occur in two informal members of Abu Roash Formation; the
Received in revised form 28 December 2010 Rudist- and the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl members. The three biostromes show autochtho-
Accepted 7 January 2011
nous and parautochthonous fabrics and moderate to high packing potential. The first rudist biostrome
Available online 18 January 2011
at the base of the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member (Middle Turonian) contains Durania gaensis,
Praeradiolites ponsianus and Bournonia fourtaui. The second biostrome in the same member consists of
Bournonia roashensis. The third biostrome that recognized in the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl
Abu Roash
member (Late Turonian) consists of Durania arnaudi. Rudist biostromes in the Rudist-bearing lime-
Rudist stone–marl member were deposited on subtidal rudist shoals with moderate to high energy versus that
Systematic paleontology of the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member that deposited in low to moderate energy on deeper
Facies part of subtidal rudist shoals. The exposed Turonian succession at Abu Roash area could be divided into
Turonian three depositional sequences bounded by three sequence boundaries (paleosols and angular unconfor-
The first rudist biostrome in the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member represents the lower part of
the transgressive systems tract of the first depositional sequence. The deepening upward trend of the
transgressive systems tract is due to increase of accommodation space in transgressive context during
relative sea-level rise episode. On the other hand, the second rudist biostrome in the Rudist-bearing lime-
stone–marl member and the third rudist biostrome in the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member
are in shallowing-upward set sequence forming the highstand systems tract of the first and third depo-
sitional sequences. This indicates that, the accommodation space was being filled more rapidly than was
being created during the highstand stage.
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction (Turonian–Coniacian) and the Khoman Chalk (Campanian–Maas-

trichtian) (Barakat et al., 1987; Abdel Khalek et al., 1989; Abu
Abu Roash area ‘‘8 km northwest of the Giza pyramids, Giza, Khadrah et al., 2005). Abu Khadrah et al. (2005) subdivided the
Egypt’’ lies between Lat. 29°580 and 30°30 N and Long. 30°590 and Abu Roash Formation into six informal members from base to
31°50 E. This area has been studied for many years from Beadnell top: the Basal clastic member, the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl
(1902) to El-Hedeny (2007). Some of these studies focused on member, the Limestone member, the Actaeonella-bearing lime-
the rudists (Fourtau, 1903; Dacqué, 1903; Douvillé, 1910, 1913; stone–marl member, and the Flint-bearing chalky limestone mem-
Hamza, 1993; De Castro and Sirna, 1996; El-Sabbagh and El-Hede- ber of Turonian age, and the Plicatula-bearing marl–limestone
ny, 2003; Mansour, 2004; El-Hedeny, 2007). However many member of Coniacian age (Figs. 1 and 2).
authors studied the stratigraphy of the Abu Roash area, the strati- The ages of the members of the Abu Roash Formation are dis-
graphic position and classification of the Upper Cretaceous succes- puted. The basal clastic member of Abu Roash Formation or the
sion is still a matter of debate. Some authors subdivided the Sandstone ‘‘Series’’ is assigned to the Albian by Hassan and Abdel
Cretaceous succession from base to top into the Sandstone Series, Gawad (1995) or the Aptian by Hewaidy et al. (1998) or to the
Rudist Series, Limestone Series, Actaeonella Series, Flint Series, Pli- Cenomanian by Faris (1948), Jux (1954) and Osman (1954), or to
catula Series and Chalk (Beadnell, 1902; Faris, 1948; Jux, 1954; Os- the Turonian (Hataba and Ammar, 1990; Abu Khadrah et al.,
man, 1954; Said, 1962; Hataba and Ammar, 1990; Hamza, 1993). 2005). The age of the overlying Rudist-bearing limestone–marl
Others have formally divided the Upper Cretaceous succession of member (the Rudist ‘‘Series’’) is considered to be Cenomanian in
Abu Roash area into two rock units: the Abu Roash Formation age (Beadnell, 1902; Faris, 1948; Jux, 1954; Osman, 1954;
El-Hedeny, 2007) or Turonian in age (Said and Kenawy, 1957; Said,
⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +20 126096643. 1962; Hataba and Ammar, 1990; Abu Khadrah et al., 2005). On the
E-mail address: (S.G. Saber). other hand, many authors agree with the Turonian age for the

1464-343X/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
360 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

Fig. 1. Geological map of Abu Roash area (after, Abu Khadrah et al., 2005).

Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member (the Actaeonella The age of the exposed sedimentary record in Abu Roash area
‘‘Series’’), although Hataba and Ammar (1990) and De Castro and ranges from Upper Cretaceous (Turonian to Maastrichtian) to Oli-
Sirna (1996) considered this unit to be of Coniacian age. gocene. Lower Miocene and Pliocene sediments are also recorded
In this paper we follow Abu Khadrah et al. (2005) in assigning with limited occurrences. Eight unconformities are detected and
the Abu Roash succession from the Basal clastic member (Sand- described in the view of sequence stratigraphy within the Upper
stone ‘‘Series’’) to the Flinty-bearing chalky limestone member Cretaceous to Pliocene succession exposed in Abu Roash area (Ab-
(Flint ‘‘Series’’) in the Abu Roash area to the Turonian age (Fig. 1). del-Gawad and Saber, 2001). The Intra-Cretaceous unconformities
The studied succession is correlated with the Turonian Wata For- are related to the uplifting and the tectonic inversion of the Abu
mation in Sinai and the western side of the Gulf of Suez (Saber Roash Basin (Syrian Arc folding) during Early Senonian. This inver-
et al., 2009). sion continued mildly during Late Senonian and Early Tertiary
The high abundance of rudist-rich carbonate during Turonian (Velascoensis Event of Strougo, 1986). During this time interval
age at Abu Roash area could be attributed to the global changes the global eustatic signals overprinted by Syrian Arc tectonics par-
of environmental conditions with oceanic realm. This is consistent ticularly in northern Egypt.
with the global fluctuation in physical and chemical characters of
the oceanic water during Middle–Late Cretaceous time as de-
scribed by (Carannante et al., 2008). 3. Stratigraphic setting of Abu Roash rudists
The main target of this work is the study of the rudist taxonomy
and associated facies of the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl and the The Abu Roash rudist assemblages are present in three biostro-
Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl members. mes in the Abu Roash Formation (Fig. 2). These assemblages repre-
sent the platform paleocommunity recovery following the
environmental stress on shelf communities resulting from global
Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE 2) (Scott, 1995, 2003). The first and
2. Geologic setting of Abu Roash area second biostromes are present in the Rudist-bearing limestone–
marl member. The first rudist biostrome is about 50 cm thick and
Abu Roash area is a part of the Syrian Arc Fold Belt that extends has three rudist species; Durania gaensis (Dacqué, 1903), Praeradi-
from northern Egypt to Syria passing through the Negev. It is con- olites ponsianus (ďArchiac, 1835), and Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé,
sidered to be an intraplate orogen formed by inversion of an older 1910 (Fig. 2). The majority of the rudist right (lower) valves are
half graben system due to the collision of the African, Arabian and preserved in life position, but some individuals and clusters are
Eurasian plates in the time from Late Cretaceous (Late Turonian/ disoriented and were deposited not far from the original biotope.
Coniacian) to Early Paleogene (Moustafa and Khalil, 1990; Ayyad They are bounded by oolitic chalky limestone and underlain by
and Darwish, 1996; Lüning et al., 1998a,b). sandy oolitic limestone with cross-bedding stratifications and
G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372 361

Fig. 2. Composite section of the Abu Roash Formation at Abu Roash area.

erosive surfaces. The first biostrome is overlain by chalky lime- horizon of mottled, ferruginous sandstone with rootlets and
stone bearing Cyphosoma abbatei Gauthier, 1853 of Middle Turo- rhyzocretions.
nian age. The third rudist biostrome (Fig. 2) varies in thickness from 5 to
The second biostrome contains two rudist beds in a matrix of 12 m and exists in the middle part of the Actaeonella-bearing lime-
oolitic limestone and intercalated with bioturbated limestone beds stone–marl member at El-Hassana Dome. This biostrome yields
(wackestone and mudstone). The total thickness of this succession well preserved, complete and long cylindrical right valves of
is 2 m. This horizon contains right valves of Bournonia roashensis Durania arnaudi (Choffat, 1891). Rudists are developed in one or
(d’Orbigny, 1842) in an upright growth position (Fig. 2). This bios- two levels with sharp and locally erosive basal surfaces. These
trome is overlain by limestone bed that is punctuated by a paleosol levels alternated with bioturbated limestones and underlain by
362 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

bioturbated chalky limestones with abundance of Trochactaeon sal- salamonis, Durania arnaudi and Millestroma nicholsoni) which are
amonis Fraas and subordinate occurrences of Nerinea requieniana associated with the Late Turonian Coilopoceras requienianum that
d’Orbigny, 1842 and Millestroma nicholsoni Gregory, 1889. The is reported in northern Sinai (Saber et al., 2009).
biostrome is capped by cross-bedded calcarenites. Rudists in the
lower level of this biostrome are associated with the coralline
sponge Millestroma nicholsoni Gregory, 1889. Southeast of El-Has- 4. Systematic paleontology
sana Dome the rudists are completely replaced by coralline
sponges. The Durania arnaudi (Choffat, 1891) shells are in erect life Five rudist species belonging to three genera have been identi-
position, or are toppled and locally oriented, but rarely reworked. fied from the Turonian Rudist-bearing limestone–marl and Actae-
The Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member and the overly- onella-bearing limestone–marl members at Abu Roash area.
ing Flint-bearing chalky limestone member are of Late Turonian Class Bivalvia Linné, 1758
age. They are correlated with the Late Turonian succession in Sinai Subclass Heterodonta Neumayr, 1884
based on the faunal content (Nerinea requieniana, Trochactaeon Order Hippuritoida Newell, 1965

Fig. 3. (A–C) Praeradiolites ponsianus, from the first biostrome of Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member; (A) right valve, posteroventral aspect showing folds of the lamellae
in the radial bands; (B–C) right valves, dorsal aspect with concentric lamellae ornamented by fine ribs; (D–F) Bournonia fourtaui, from the first biostrome of Rudist-bearing
limestone–marl member; (D) right valve, dorsal aspect showing the concentric lamellae; (E) adapical view of the right valve showing the prominent radial bands; (F) adapical
view, cross-section of the right valve showing the rectangular cellular structure of the outer layer and the radial bands at right; (G–J) Bournonia roashensis, from the second
biostrome of Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member; (G) right valve, adapical view; (H) ventral aspect of the same valve showing the two prominent radial bands; (I) dorsal
view of the right valve ornamented with radial ribs; (J) transverse cross-section of the right valve showing the characteristic two prominent radial bands and rectangular
cellular structures.
G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372 363

Family Radiolitidae de Orbigny, 1847 2005 Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé; Aly et al., p. 268, pl. 6, Figs. 8–
Genus Praeradiolites Douvillé, 1902 9; pl. 7, Figs. 2a–c.
Type species Radiolites fleuriaui d’Orbigny, 1842 2007 Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé; El-Hedeny, p. 86, Fig. 6a–f.
Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac, 1835)
(Fig. 3A–C) Material: 25 Right valves from the first rudist horizon of the
Turonian Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member at Abu Roash
1835 Sphaerulites ponsiana ďArchiac, p. 182, pl. 11, Figs. 6a–g. area.
1848 Radiolites ponsiana ďArchiac; d’Orbigny, p. 210, pl. 552. Description: Right valves cylindrical, up to 60 mm long, maxi-
1910 Praeradiolites ponsianus ďArchiac, var. egyptiaca; Douvillé, mum width 30 mm and with faint and prominent longitudinal ribs.
p. 48, pl. 3, Figs. 6a–b and 7. The Pb is one of the prominent ribs. Vb is broad, rounded and less
1912 Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac); Pervinquière, p. 308. prominent than Pb. In transverse section, the outer layer increases
1913 Praeradiolites ponsianus ďArchiac. race aegyptiaca; Douv- in thickness to attain a maximum thickness in the posterodorsal
illé, p. 248, pl. 2, Figs. 1–2. side. The microstructure is composed of rectangular cells.
1917 Praeradiolites ponsianus ďArchiac; Fourtau, p. 99. Remarks: The described specimens clearly belong to Bournonia
1995 Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac); Cestari and Sartorio, p. fourtaui as described by Douvillé (1910, 1913). Also, the same spe-
127. cies was described from the Cenomanian of north Sinai by Aly et al.
1999 Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac); Steuber, p. 91–92, pl. (2005).
12, Fig. 2 (with synonymy). Age and distribution: The present species was recorded from the
2004a Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac) egyptiacus Douvillé; Turonian of Abu Roash, Egypt (Douvillé, 1910, 1913). Recently, it
Abdel-Gawad et al., pl. 9, Figs. 7 and 10. was recorded from the Cenomanian of north Sinai by Aly et al.
2005 Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac); Aly et al., p. 259, pl. 3, (2005), from the Turonian Wata Formation at Gabal Fallig in north
Figs. 4–6; pl. 4, Figs. 1–5. Sinai by Abdel-Gawad et al. (2004b) and from the Coniacian–Maas-
2006 Praeradiolites ponsianus egyptiacus Douvillé; El Qot, p. 69, trichtian of Greece (Steuber, 1999).
pl. 13, Figs. 11 and 12. Bournonia roashensis Douvillé, 1913
2007 Praeradiolites ponsianus (ďArchiac); El-Hedeny, p. 90, (Fig. 3G–J)
Figs. 7e–f and 8j.
1913 Bournonia excavata d’Orbigny, race roachensis Douvillé, p.
Material: 20 right valves from the first biostrome of the Turo- 250, pl. 17, Fig. 7; text-Figs. 9–10.
nian Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member at Abu Roash area.
Description: The right valves are conical or sub-cylindrical, 40– Material: 40 right valves from the second horizon of the Turo-
50 mm long and commissural diameter is 25–40 mm. External nian Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member at Abu -Roash.
lamellae are erect and not folded except for the area around the ra- Description: The right valve is cylindrical, up to 50 mm long,
dial bands. Posterior radial band (Pb) is formed of a higher fold slightly arched, with a commissural diameter of up to 20 mm.
than ventral radial band (Vb), while the interband (Ib) is formed The right valves are ornamented with 8–10 longitudinal ribs. The
of down placations. cross-section is oval; the maximum thickness of the inner layer
Remarks: The described specimens agree well with Praeradio- is 0.3 mm and the outer layer reaching 10 mm thick that decreases
lites ponsianus that was described by Douvillé (1910) and El-Hede- in the anteroventral side to 5 mm. It is composed of rectangular
ny (2007) from the Turonian of Abu Roash area. Also, the same cells that tend to be compact outward. The compact structures
species was recorded from the Turonian of north Sinai (Aly et al., are dominated in the radial bands area. The outer layer is thin in
2005). Outside Egypt, Praeradiolites ponsianus has been reported the interband area up to 1 mm and it is entirely made up of com-
in Greece by Steuber (1999) and France by Macé-Bordy (2007) pact structure. The siphonal bands are represented by two promi-
and is reported from France to Iran. nent longitudinal ribs separated by a furrow (Ib) of 7 mm width. Pb
Age and distribution: P. ponsianus was recorded from the Turo- is more prominent than Vb.
nian at Abu Roash, Egypt (Douvillé, 1910, 1913). Recently, it is Remarks: Bournonia excavata d’Orbigny, race roashensis de-
recorded from the Turonian Wata Formation at Gabal Yelleg, scribed by Douvillé (1913) from the Turonian of Abu Roash greatly
north Sinai (Abdel-Gawad et al., 2004a; Aly et al., 2005). Also, resembles the present specimens. The present species differs from
it is recorded from the Upper Turonian of the external Dinarids B. africana as described by Douvillé (1910) in the radial bands; Pb
(Polsak et al., 1982), and from the Turonian of Pyrenees, south- and Vb in the present species are more prominent. It is also distin-
ern France, Italy, Hungary, Algeria, Greece, and Tunisia (Steuber, guished from B. fourtaui in the absence of the three prominent ribs.
1999). Although the present species closely-resembles B. excavata as de-
Subfamily Biradiolitinae Douvillé, 1902 scribed from the Campanian–Maastrichtian of Guatemala (Scott,
Genus Bournonia Fischer, 1887 1996) and at NE Slovenia (Caffau, 2002), however, the right valves
Type species. Sphaerulites bournoni Des Moulins, 1826 of their specimens are quadrate to subpolygonal in cross-section.
Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé, 1910 Moreover, the ventral radial bands are more prominent than that
(Fig. 3D–F) of the current specimens and the Vb̂Pb angle is larger than that
measured in the described cross-sections. B. excavata as revised
1910 Bournonia Fourtaui Douvillé, p. 24, 49, pl. 3, Fig. 8; text- from the Santonian of France by Macé-Bordy (2007) resembles
Figs. 22 and 54. the described species in their external features, nevertheless the
1913 Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé; Douvillé, p. 249, pl. 17, Fig. 6; specimens described by Macé-Bordy (2007) tend to be higher
text-Fig. 8. and their ventral bands are longer. Finally, the present species dis-
1915 Bournonia Fourtaui Douvillé; Douvillé, p. 166, pl. 8, Fig. 5, plays the external features and the cross-section shape of B. roash-
text-Fig. 1. ensis described by Douvillé (1913) from the Turonian of the Abu
1999 Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé; Steuber, p. 55 (with Roash area. However, B. roashensis differs from B. excavata that is
synonymy). described from higher levels than the Turonian.
2004b Bournonia fourtaui Douvillé; Abdel-Gawad et al., pl. 4, Age and distribution: Turonian of Abu Roash area, north Western
Fig. 4a–b. Desert (Douvillé, 1913).
364 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

Subfamily Sauvagesiinae Douvillé, 1908 2000 Durania gaensis; Steuber and Löser, p. 96.
Genus Durania Douvillé, 1908 non2003 Durania gaensis (Dacqué); El-Sabbagh and El-Hedeny,
Type species Hippurites cornupastoris Des Moulins, 1826 p. 248, pl. 1, Figs. 5–6.
Durania gaensis (Dacqué, 1903) 2004a Durania gaensis (Dacqué); Abdel-Gawad et al., pl. 9, Fig. 6.
(Fig. 4A–F) 2006 Durania gaensis (Dacqué); El Qot, p. 70, pl. 14, Fig. 6.
2007 Durania gaensis (Dacqué); El-Hedeny, p. 88, Figs. 6g–m
1903 Radiolites gaensis Dacqué, p. 374, pl. 35, Figs. 7–9. and 8i.
1910 Durania gaensis Dacqué; Douvillé, p. 50, pl. 3, Figs. 2–5.
1912 Durania gaensis Dacqué; Pervinquière, p. 322, pl. 22, Material: 60 right valves are collected from the first horizon
Figs. 6–7. of the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member of Abu Roash
1913 Durania gaensis Dacqué; Douvillé, p. 253, pl. 15, Figs. 4–7. area.

Fig. 4. (A–F) Durania gaensis, from the first horizon of Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member; (A) right valve with wide radial ribs and concentric lamellae, anterodorsal
aspect; (B) right valve, posteroventral aspect showing ventral band (Vb); (C) right valve, adapical view shows the Radial bands (Vb, Pb); (D) right valve, posteroventral aspect
shows Vb and Pb radial bands; (E) right valve, posteroventral aspect show Posterior band Pb with fine radial ribs; (F) transverse cross-section in the right valve shows the
polygonal cellular structure; (G–H) Durania arnaudi, from the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member; (G) transverse cross-section in the right valve shows thick outer
layer with polygonal cellular structure; (H) two attached right valves ornamented with fine longitudinal ribs, the right one shows the radial bands Pb and Vb.
G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372 365

Description: Right valves reach 12 cm in length and a commis- recorded from the Turonian of Libya (Parona, 1921), Tunisia (Pervi-
sural diameter of 4 cm. The right valves are conical or sub-cylindri- nquière, 1912), Italy (Paris and Sirna, 1996), and Croatia (Polsak
cal. They are ornamented with 10–12 longitudinal ribs and slightly et al., 1982).
folded laminae. Spacing of costellae is commonly irregular about Durania arnaudi (Choffat, 1891)
4–9 mm. The Vb is wide, depressed and of about 15 mm in width, (Fig. 4G–H)
while the Pb is narrower, 9 mm wide and ornamented with slightly
faint ribs. The structure of the outer shell layer is polygonal cells. 1891 Biradiolites arnaudi Choffat, pp. 203, 210 and 211.
The outer layer decreases in thickness at the Vb. The Pb position 1901 Biradiolites cornupastoris; Parona, p. 202, pl. 1, Fig. 6.
is about 5 mm, while in the rest of the shell is about 10 mm. 1903 Radiolites cornu-pastoris Desm.; Dacquè, p. 373
Remarks: The described specimens are wholly similar to the 1910 Durania arnaudi Choffat; Douvillé, p. 50, pl. 3, Fig. 1.
specimens that described and figured by Douvillé (1910, 1913) 1912 Durania arnaudi Choffat; Pervinquière, p. 321, pl. 22,
and El-Hedeny (2007). Also, the Durania gaensis described from Fig. 9.
the Turonian of north Sinai by Aly et al. (2005) are similar; how- 1913 Durania arnaudi Choffat; Douvillé, p. 252, pl. 16, Fig. 1.
ever the latter specimens tend to be shorter. Moreover, the speci- 1995 Durania arnaudi (Choffat); Cestari and Sartorio, p. 50.
mens described by El-Sabbagh and El-Hedeny (2003) from El- 1996 Durania arnaudi (Choffat); De Castro and Sirna, p. 78,
Hassana Dome at Abu Roash area as Durania gaensis are unlike Figs. 6–9.
the D. gaensis but they show the characteristics of D. arnaudi. El- 2000 Durania arnaudi (Choffat); Steuber and Löser, p. 96.
Sabbagh and El-Hedeny (2003) identified Durania gaensis based 2003 Durania cornupastoris (Des Moulins); El-Sabbagh and El-
on the microstructure and the external features; however, the Hedeny, pp. 247 and 255, pl. 1, Figs. 1–4; pl. 4, Figs. 1–4; pl.
microstructure is nearly the same in the most of genera of Durania 5, Fig. 1.
(Steuber, 1999). Also, the depressed Vb characterized the D. gaensis 2004a Durania arnaudi (Choffat); Abdel-Gawad et al., pl. 9,
as described by Douvillé (1910, 1913) is not clear in their described Figs. 4–5.
specimens. 2005 Durania arnaudi (Choffat); Aly et al., p. 273, pl. 10, Figs. 3–
Age and distribution: The present species is distributed in the 9; pl. 11, Figs. 2–3.
Turonian of Abu Roash in Egypt (Douvillé, 1910, 1913). Also, it is 2006 Durania arnaudi (Choffat); El Qot, p. 70, pl. 14, Figs. 4–5.

Fig. 5. Block diagram showing the distribution of the different sedimentary facies and their microfacies types of the rudist biostromes and associated sediments at Abu Rash
366 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

Material: 10 right valves are collected from the Actaeonella- 5.1. Facies 1
bearing limestone–marl member at Abu Roash area.
Description: Conical to sub-cylindrical right valves with shell This sedimentary facies forms the substrate for rudists coloniza-
length up to 200 mm and commissural diameter up to 120 mm. tion and underlies the third biostrome (in the Actaeonella-bearing
The radial bands are ribbed by faint longitudinal ribs. The outer limestone–marl member) at north west of El-Hassana Dome
shell layer is up to 20 mm thick. The structure of the outer layer (Fig. 6). It is consists of chalky white, bioturbated limestone. Micro-
is polygonal with subordinate rectangular cells. scopically, this facies consists mainly of echinoid bioclastic wacke-
Remarks: The same species was described from the Actaeonella- stone/mudstone.
bearing limestone–marl member at Abu Roash area by Douvillé Facies 1 is composed of rudist fragments and echinoid plates
(1910, 1913) and De Castro and Sirna (1996). Although the rudist and spines (Fig. 7A and B) with rare planktonic foraminifers. Echi-
biostrome in the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member noid and rudist bioclasts are partially replaced by spherulitic silica
comprises one species, D. arnaudi. El-Sabbagh and El-Hedeny and locally surrounded by irregular micrite envelopes. The matrix
(2003) assumed that this biostrome yieldes seven species belong- material is neomorphosed micrite with rare syntaxial cement
ing to Durania, Lapeirousella and Sauvagesia. around echinoid plates and spines. The matrix-supported fabrics
Age and distribution: D. arnaudi was recorded from the Upper (wackestone/mudstone), bioturbation and poor sorting of this fa-
Turonian of Abu Roash, Egypt (Douvillé, 1910, 1913; De Castro cies indicate that the deposition was in a relatively quiet water be-
and Sirna, 1996), the Turonian of Croatia (Polšak, 1967), and Tuni- low fair-weather wave base (Wilson, 1975; Flügel, 1982;
sia (Pervinquière, 1912) as well as Algeria, Italy, France, Portugal, Reeckmann and Friedman, 1982). The abundance of echinoids
Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia. reflecting open marine conditions. Rudist fragments in this facies
were reworked from the rudist biostrome and redeposited in quiet,
deep subtidal conditions.
5. Sedimentary facies

Six sedimentary facies are distinguished in the three rudist 5.2. Facies II
horizons from the Turonian Abu Roash Formation (Fig. 5). Lime-
stone microfacies types are discriminated in this succession based This facies represents the lateral facies changes of facies I where
on the depositional texture’s classification of Dunham (1962) and it underlies the rudist and coralline sponge biostromes at the south
its modification given by Embry and Klovan (1972). These sedi- east of El-Hassana Dome (Fig. 6). Microscopically, it is represented
mentary facies are described as follows. by foraminiferal bioclastic wackestone/packstone microfacies. It is

Fig. 6. Horizontal and vertical distribution of different microfacies of the rudist horizons and the associated sediments at El-Hassana Dome (not to horizontal scale).
G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372 367

Fig. 7. (A) Rudist fragments and echinoid plates in neomorphosed micrite; echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone, C.N., El-Hassana Dome. (B) Echinoid spine in
neomorphosed micrite; echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone, C.N., El-Hassana Dome. (C) Benthic foraminifers (miliolids and biserial forams) and algae in neomorphosed
micrite; foraminaferal bioclastic wackestone/packstone, P.L., El-Hassana Dome. (D) Cuneolina sp., in neomorphosed micrite; foraminiferal bioclastic wackestone/packstone,
P.L., El-Hassana Dome.

rich in miliolids and biserial forams (Fig. 7C), along with Dicyclina tilted and rarely reworked similar to that described by Carannante
sp. and Cuneolina sp. (Fig. 7D). Planispiral and uniserial forams are et al. (1998) in the Sorrento Peninsula (Southern Italy). Also, rudist
also subordinately recorded in this microfacies. The shell walls of rudstone/bafflestone facies can be compared with rudist rudstone/
these benthic forams are micritized and their chambers filled by bafflestone (facies C00 ) of Simone et al. (2003) and facies association
microspar. Algae and rudist fragments are frequently encountered. III of Carannante et al. (2000), which are associated with subtidal
The matrix material of this microfacies is neomorphosed micrite. environments where rudist-inhabited, sand plains with storm/cur-
The high quantity of Dicyclina sp. and Cuneolina sp. with other ben- rent-related hydrodynamics. Wilson (1975) mentioned that Dura-
thic foraminifers is correlated with assemblage (c) of Carannante nia and Sauvagesia inhabited quiet water. The presence of fine-
et al. (2000) that indicates deposition was in subtidal environment grained matrix, well preserved rudists and little fragmentation re-
with open circulation and medium to high hydrodynamic energy. flect shallow warm waters and soft bottom protected from win-
Facies with assemblage (c) was deposited on the subtidal rudist- nowing and destructive action of strong waves or currents
inhabited sand plains (Carannante et al., 2000; Ruberti et al., 2007). (Fürsich and Oschmann, 1993). Kidwell and Holland (1991) and
In summary, the abundance of Dicyclina sp. and Cuneolina sp. in Carannante et al. (2000) concluded that toppling and subsequent
this sedimentary facies indicate that, this facies was deposited in dense stacking of the rudist shells are due to the removal of the
shallow subtidal rudist-inhabited sand plains with open circula- sediment by moderate current. Wanas (2008) mentioned that the
tion and medium–high energy. rudists at Gabal Fallig (north Sinai) form patch reef in a high energy
intertidal shoal environment.
5.3. Facies III In summary, rudist biostrome in the Actaeonella-bearing lime-
stone–marl member (rudist biostrome 3), at El-Hassana Dome, is
This facies has been recognized in the third rudist biostrome (in well preserved and scarce fragmented shells embedded in fine-
the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl member). This biostrome grained matrix suggest that facies III was deposited on subtidal ru-
yields a well preserved, complete and long cylindrical right valves dist shoal with open circulation and low to moderate energy.
of Durania arnaudi. Shells are in erect life position, or toppled and
locally oriented, but rarely reworked. This facies has been de- 5.4. Facies IV
scribed as rudist mounds by Hamza (1993) and as a rudist bios-
trome by De Castro and Sirna (1996). Facies III is a rudist This facies has been recognized in the first two rudist biostro-
rudstone/bafflestone facies. Rudist shells are partially altered by mes (in the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member). The majority
silicification with spherulitic silica (Fig. 8A). The matrix of this fa- of the rudist right (lower) valves are preserved in life position, but
cies is echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone. The rudist bios- some individuals and clusters are disoriented and were deposited
trome is characterized by levels with sharp and rarely basal proximal to the original biotope. The rudists are surrounded by
erosive surfaces that suggest reworking. Right valves are toppled, dolomitic oolitic bioclastic packstone/grainstone with abundant
368 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

Fig. 8. (A) Silicification of rudist by spherulitic silica; rudist rudstone/bafflestone, C.N., El-Hassana Dome, (B) Calcareous algae and intraclasts bounded together by dolomitic
micrite, and form the matrix of rudist rudstone/bafflestone; C.N., second rudist horizon, Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member. (C) Cuneolina sp., intraclasts and peloids in
dolomitic micrite matrix forming the matrix of rudist rudstone/bafflestone; C.N., first rudist horizon, Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member. (D) Benthic foraminifers,
calcareous algae, intraclasts and peloids in neomorphosed micrite forming matrix of coralline sponge; C.N., El-Hassana Dome.

benthic foraminifers (e.g. Dicyclina sp. and Cuneolina sp.) with Ordovician) and Mesozoic (Middle Jurassic to Maastrichtian).
other uniserial and biserial forams. Also, red algae and non-skeletal Meanwhile, Abdel-Gawad (2001) described the coralline sponges
components (e.g. ooids, intraclasts and peloids) are present in the at El-Hassana Dome as forming mounds. The matrix of the coral-
matrix of this facies (Fig. 8B and C). The abundance of Dicyclina line sponge facies V is packstone/grainstone fabric reflecting
sp. and Cuneolina sp. as well as oolite, intraclasts and grain-sup- high-energy hydrodynamics. The presence of Dicyclina sp. and
ported textures of this facies suggest that facies IV was deposited Cuneolina sp. in the matrix of this facies rather than echinoid spines
on subtidal rudist shoals with open circulation and moderate to and plates, as the matrix of rudist biostrome (Facis III), indicates
high-energy. that the coralline sponges inhabited a shallower subtidal environ-
ment than rudists.

5.5. Facies V
5.6. Facies VI
This sedimentary facies has been recognized from the south
eastern part of El-Hassana Dome. It is represented by a Coralline This facies overlies Facies III in the Actaeonella-bearing lime-
sponge (Millestroma nicholsoni) biostrome. The colonies are large, stone–marl member (El-Hassana Dome) or underlies the rudists
partially silicified, globular, massive, and locally branched and en- in the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member. Facies VI is cross-
crusted gastropod shells of Trochacteon salomonis and Nerinea req- bedded, fossiliferous limestone. Petrographically, this facies is
uieniana. The matrix of this facies is peloidal foraminiferal intraclastic bioclastic packstone/grainstone and locally overlain
bioclastic packstone/grainstone (Fig. 8D). The main non-skeletal by oolitic grainstone. In the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl mem-
components are peloids with rare intraclasts. On the other hand, ber the facies is mainly sandy oolitic grainstone.
the skeletal components are mainly of benthic foraminifers (Dicy- The oolitic grainstone microfacies consists of well sorted super-
clina sp. and Cuneolina sp.) with rare miliolids, rare calcareous al- ficial ooids (Fig. 9A). The ooids are elongated, taking the shape of
gae, echinoid plates and spines. The cementing material is bioclasts that form their nuclei. Bioclasts are less common and in-
granular sparite. Neomorphosed micrite matrix is also described clude echinoid plates and spines, rudist shell fragments and ben-
in this facies. The modern coralline sponge communities are re- thic foraminifers. The cement of this facies is syntaxial cement
stricted to distinct ecological niches in tropical reefs and subtrop- around echinoid plates and spines in addition to blocky cement.
ical environments such as Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific Two generations of cement, isopachous followed by blocky cement,
communities (Hartman and Goreau, 1970; Vacelet, 1985; Basile are also recorded.
et al., 1984; Reitner and Engester, 1987; Reitner, 1989). They live Non-skeletal components of the intraclastic bioclastic pack-
in dark or dimly light habitats such as in caves or underneath large stone/grainstone microfacies are mainly micritized intraclasts with
boulders along rocky shores of the Mediterranean. Reitner (1989) rare pellets (Figs 9B–C). The skeletal components are represented
described coralline sponge reefs from Paleozoic (Silurian and by echinoid plates and spines, rudist shell fragments, calcareous
G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372 369

Fig. 9. (A) Superficial ooids; oolitic grainstone, C.N., El-Hassana Dome. (B–C) Algal fragments, echinoid with syntaxial cement, benthic foraminifers and intraclasts;
intraclastic bioclastic packstone/grainstone, C.N., El-Hassana Dome. (D) Normal and superficial ooids, glauconite and quartz grains cemented by sparite, sandy oolitic
grainstone; C.N., Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member.

algae, serpulids and bivalve shell fragments. Benthic foraminifers (Fig. 2). The first boundary (SB1) is detected within the Rudist-
are also recorded in this facies, represented by Dicyclina sp., Cune- bearing limestone–marl member (Fig. 2). Meanwhile, the second
olina sp. with planispiral, uniserial forams and rare miliolids. The boundary (SB2) is traced within the Limestone member. These
binding materials are sparite cement and/or neomorphosed mi- boundaries are represented by the paleosol horizons described by
crite matrix. Badawy (2003) and consist of mottled, ferruginous sandstone with
Terrigenous grains of the sandy oolitic grainstone microfacies rootlets and rhyzocretions. The third sequence boundary (SB3) is
are quartz and glauconite (Fig. 9D). Ooids are mainly of simple, the Turonian/Coniacian angular unconformity (Moustafa, 1988).
normal type with radial and concentric structures. The cores of This boundary can be traced in southern Sinai where the carbonate
ooids are mainly of micrite, quartz grains, glauconite, or skeletal facies of the Wata Formation (Turonian) is overlain by the silici-
fragments. The skeletal components are mainly recrystallized bi- clastic facies of the Coniacian/Santonian Matulla Formation.
valve shell fragments and gastropods. The cement is mainly gran- The rudist biostromes at Abu Roash area are members of three
ular sparite cement with rare gypsum. Iron oxides are irregularly shallowing upward parasequences. The first rudist biostrome is
distributed in the cement material of this facies and locally affect within the first depositional sequence in the Rudist-bearing lime-
their components. stone–marl member. The vertical succession of this parasequence
The grain-supported fabric (grainstone and packstone), high de- is composed of echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone microfa-
gree of sorting, cross-bedding and diverse faunal content of this fa- cies (deep subtidal), overlain by prograding bioclastic sand shoal
cies indicate open marine under a high-energy hydraulic regime. facies in the form of intraclastic bioclastic grainstone/packstone
Superficial ooids suggest lower energy than normal ooids (Schulze microfacies, and topped by Rudist biostrome 1. The rudists are
et al., 2005). Rudist fragments indicate deposition in high energy mainly Durania gaensis, Praeradiolites ponsianus and Bournonia
environment at or close to rudist assemblage. This facies could fourtaui. Based on the rudist content, this parasequence correlates
be compared to lithofacies (a) of Simone et al. (2003) that suggests well with the transgressive systems tract (TST) of the Turonian se-
significant storm and wave influence, and they are capping the quence 4 (Saber et al., 2009) and post-TuSin 1 sequence (Bauer
rudistid facies (c00 ) in the shallowing upward cycle. et al., 2002, 2003, 2004) in Sinai.
In summary, this facies was deposited as oolitic/intraclastic The second rudist biostrome consists mainly of one species,
subtidal shoals under moderate to high-energy and open water Bournonia roashensis (Fig. 2). It is developed in the highstand
circulation. deposits of the first Turonian sequence and is very similar to the
highstand systems tract (HST) of post-TuSin 1 sequence of Bauer
et al. (2002, 2003). The rudists are in the second shallowing up-
6. Depositional history and development of Rudist Facies ward parasequence. The basal part of the parasequence is low-en-
ergy subtidal facies (echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone
The Turonian succession at Abu Roash area is divided into three microfacies), overlain by oolitic subtidal shoals (sandy oolitic
depositional sequences bounded by three sequence boundaries grainstone microfacies) and rudist biostrome, topped by paleosol
370 G.I. Abdel-Gawad et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 59 (2011) 359–372

horizon. The facies of this parasequence are shallower than that of 7. Summary and conclusions
the first parasequence and represents the upper most part of the
highstand systems tract (HST) of the first Turonian sequence. 1. The Rudist-bearing limestone–marl member contains two
The third Durania arnaudi biostrome at El-Hassana Dome rudist biostromes. Three radiolitid rudist species are described
(Fig. 2) was previously studied as an example for the development from the first biostrome; Durania gaensis, Praeradiolites ponsi-
and paleoecology of the rudists in Egypt (Abdel-Gawad, 2001; De anus and Bournonia fourtaui. They bounded together by oolitic
Castro and Sirna, 1996; Hamza, 1993). The vertical succession chalky limestone. The second biostrome contains Bournonia
through the parasequence (Fig. 6) shows a wackestone/mudstone roashensis in a matrix of oolitic limestone.
facies with diverse open marine biota (benthic foraminifers, echi- 2. Monotype rudist biostrome of the Actaeonella-bearing lime-
noids and acteonellid gastropods) in its lower part. This is followed stone–marl member consists of Durania arnaudi that is bounded
by a biostrome of clustered elevator rudists and coralline sponges together by echinoid bioclastic wackestone/mudstone
in rudstone/bafflestone facies in the middle part, and culminates microfacies.
with high-energy packstone/grainstone with bioclasts, ooids and 3. The first two rudist biostromes in the Rudist-bearing lime-
intraclasts in its upper part (Fig. 6). stone–marl member were deposited on subtidal rudist shoals
The biostrome 3 is part of a parasequence set that overlies a with open circulation and moderate to high energy. Meanwhile,
thick shale succession, which represents the transgressive and rudist biostrome in the Actaeonella-bearing limestone–marl
maximum flooding stage of the sea level during the Late member was deposited on subtidal rudist shoals with open cir-
Turonian. Therefore, this rudist biostrome occurs in a shallowing culation and low to moderate energy.
upward parasequence set in the regressive episode during the 4. At El-Hassana Dome the depositional environments show shal-
Late Turonian and it is correlated with the HST of post-TuSin 2 lowing from deep subtidal facies (echinoid bioclastic wacke-
sequence at Gabal El Minsherah, north Sinai of Bauer et al. stone/mudstone) that is overlain by rudist rudstone/
(2003). bafflestone with matrix rich in echinoid plates and spines in
The intra-Turonian lowering of sea level resulted in the deposi- the northwest, to shallow subtidal facies (foraminiferal bioclas-
tion of the Basal clastic member (Sandstone Series). This is corre- tic packstone/wackestone) rich with Dicyclina sp. and Cuneolina
lated with the Middle Turonian regressive facies (red sandstone) sp. with other benthic foraminifers are overlain by coralline
from west central Sinai (Abdel-Gawad, 1999) with gypsiferous sponge rudist rudstone/bafflestone or coralline sponge rud-
mudstone and gypsum beds in the Themed area (Ziko et al., stone/bafflestone facies in the southeast.
1993; Lüning et al., 1998a) and at Gabal El Giddi (Saber, 2001). This 5. The first rudist biostrome of the Rudist-bearing limestone–marl
lowering of sea level is correlated with other localities in the Arab- member occupy the lower part of deepening upward (retrogra-
o-Nubian Massif (e.g., Harris et al., 1984; Lewy, 1990; Kuss and dational) parasequence set that form the TST of the first depo-
Bachmann, 1996) resulted from the early pulses of Syrian Arc Fold- sitional sequence reflecting an increase in accommodation
ing. Moreover, Bauer et al. (2002) mentioned that the lateral facies space associated with relative sea-level rise.
transitions in the post-TuSin 1 sequence are due to synsedimentary 6. The second rudist biostrome of the Rudist-bearing limestone–
uplift in north Sinai related to Syrian Arc tectonics. This intra-Turo- marl member and the third biostrome (Actaeonella-bearing
nian lowering of sea level is also correlated with the global eustatic limestone–marl member) occur in shallowing upward (pro-
sea level fall (Vail et al., 1977; Haq et al., 1987). On the other hand, grading) parasequence sets of the HST indicating accommoda-
Lüning et al. (1998b) referred the lateral thickness and facies tion space was being filled more rapidly than it was being
changes of the Abu Qada and Wata formations, at Gabal Arief El created.
Naqa, to autodynamic sedimentary processes suggesting the ab- 7. Basin geometries due to syndepositional tectonics also con-
sence of major tectonic uplift of Gabal Arief El Naqa during the trolled the development of rudist biostromes in Abu Roash area.
After the intra-Turonian lowering of sea level that deposited the
siliciclastic facies of the Basal clastic member, rapid transgression Acknowledgments
accompanied with faster rates of accommodation space than filling
of sediments and lead to deposition of TST sediments of the first se- We are grateful to Prof. Robert W. Scott (University of Tulsa) for
quence and the formation of the first rudist biostrome. Then, the his helpful discussion and careful and constructive reviewing the
sea-level rise slowed and the accommodation space was created manuscript. Thanks are extended to Dr. Christopher Stohr (Illinois
at slower rate, and increased sediment supply resulted in the depo- State Geological Survey) and Dr. Essam Abdel Rahman (Beni Suef
sition of the prograding parasequence set of the HST of the same University) for improving the English language. Anonymous
sequence and the second rudist biostrome. Finally regression oc- reviewers are kindly acknowledged for their constructive com-
curred associated with local folding and paleosol (SB1), which ments. Special thanks extend to Prof. Pat Eriksson for his help in
formed at the top of the first sequence. The HST facies of sequence clarifying the manuscript and exceptional editorial support.
three of Late Turonian age reflect the increase in the production
rate of carbonates (rudists are mainly carbonate producers) owing
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