Quaternary sequence stratigraphy of onshore Abu Dhabi Emirate

  • Anthony KirkhamEmail author
  • Graham Evans
Original Paper


Glacially driven eustatic sea-level fluctuations have left a clear signature only along the coastal regions and barrier islands of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Four marine sequences are identifiable although others are known to exist offshore. The stratigraphy is complicated by aeolian processes associated especially with the Shamal winds which have blown from the northwest to create dune fields that dominate the Quaternary sedimentation. Whilst aeolian facies can clearly be identified separating marine incursions along the coastal regions, aeolian deflation has complicated the stratigraphy by recycling sediment partly in response to loss of windward sediment sources during marine transgressions and partly in response to glacially driven climatic changes. Unravelling the sequence stratigraphy of the desert dunes inland, especially beyond the coastal sabkhas, is therefore extremely difficult. The late Quaternary aeolian dunes and their veneer of mobile aeolian sands are grouped into a single poorly defined formation which spans the entire timescale of the sequences identified along the coast.


Abu Dhabi Sequence stratigraphy Madinat Zayed Marawah Ghayathi Fuwayrit Futaisi Dabb’iya Rub’ al-Khali 



The authors are grateful to Kate Davis for her assistance in preparing the drawings. The authors much appreciate the comments of three anonymous reviewers which led to significant improvements to this submission. Mohammed Warrak is thanked for his assistance regarding the Hofuf Formation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sedimentology and Reservoir Development Ltd.FlintshireUK
  2. 2.The School of Ocean and Earth Science, Waterfront Campus, European WayUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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