ICE 2022


The Oligo-Miocene Present Day Gulf of Suez and Red Sea Rift system is the best exposed example of a Present day marine rift on the verge of becoming a passive margin. The NNW-SSE striking rift faults were spatially controlled by Neoproterozoic basement fabrics and these result in an overall rhomboidal rift fault system. In the Gulf of Suez the three distinct sub-basins are half-grabens formed by arrays of planar extensional faults that change polarities across the complex accommodation zones between the sub-basins. Detailed mapping and structural analyses shows that rift initiation occurred at or near sea level with the Latest Oligocene (Chattian) first rift sediments deposited in isolated hanging wall synclinal basins formed by short (~ 3 - 10 km strike-extent) planar extensional faults. With continued extension longer, larger displacement (1 - 7 kms) overlapping and linked rift fault systems evolved largely by breaching of relay ramps. Hangingwall sub-basins coalesced and were infilled with up to 6 km of Lower Miocene syn-rift marine strata. Extensional fault-propagation folding generated synclinal hanging wall basins. The large displacement sub-basin border faults underwent significant footwall uplift that in places probably exceeded 4kms. The patterns of faulting, fault evolution and syn-kinematic sedimentation together with the characteristics of the petroleum systems in the Gulf of Suez and northern Red Sea may be used as templates for rift systems elsewhere as well as for understanding the early stages of passive margin evolution.