Ras Shukeir sabkha and associated salina deposits: Comparison with a Holocene depositional equivalent
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The Ras Shukeir sabkha, located along the Red Sea coastal plain is a siliciclastic sabkha enclosing some residual salinas, that are confined to localized depressions. A Holocene evaporite sequence at the southern edge of the area is considered to be an ancient equivalent to the present day sabkha-salina complex.
A depositional model is proposed for the sabkha-salina showing the nature and distribution of the microfacies in three different zones: as subaerial sabkha deposits along the supratidal flat, and as subaqueous deposits along the margins and also within the salinas. The area is fed by resurging, mixed-source groundwater influx that fluctuates with the seasons, and this groundwater table is presently very shallow not exceeding one meter below the surface. The ground water regime, governed by replenishment in winter and evaporative depletion in summer, controls the mechanism of the evaporite deposition and the distribution of the different microfacies.
A comparison of the recent deposits with the older Holocene evaporite sequence illustrates the similarities and differences between the two deposits and establishes the diagenetic alterations that affect the recent sabkha-salina deposits because they are clearly developed in the Holocene equivalent.
KeywordsGypsum Halite Anhydrite Evaporite Microfacies
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