Geochemistry of the Miocene Zoumi flysch thrust-top basin (External Rif, Morocco): new constraints on source area weathering, recycling processes, and paleoclimate conditions

  • Mohamed El Mourabet
  • Ahmed Barakat
  • Mohamed Najib Zaghloul
  • Mohamed El Baghdadi
Original Paper


This study focuses on the Lower-Middle Miocene syn-orogenic flysch deposits of the Zoumi basin to infer source area paleoclimatic conditions, the intensity of source rocks paleoweathering, and mechanical sorting and recycling effects. The mudrocks are enriched in Al2O3, Fe2O3, CaO, and TiO2 relative to PAAS and depleted in the other mobile major elements. There are high positive correlations between SiO2, Al2O3, and TiO2 and negative correlations between SiO2 and CaO. Geochemically, the mudstones are mainly classified as shales, Fe-shales, and wackes. Various discriminant diagrams were used to reveal the inferred tectonics, source paleoweathering intensity, and paleoclimatic conditions. Chemical index of alteration (CIA) and chemical index of weathering (CIW) values for Lower-Middle Miocene vary from 50 to 80% indicating low to moderate degree of source area weathering compatible with non-steady-state weathering under wet and humid paleoclimatic conditions. Locally (Zoumi mid-section) CIA values are higher (> 80) reflecting intense source area weathering, which may be attributed to high tectonic impulses and more humid conditions during deposition. The combination of ICV-CIA, Al2O3-Zr-TiO2, and Th/Sc-Zr/Sc values suggests the bulk rock is chemically immature and has experienced modest physical sorting and recycling reflecting little transportation until the final deposition.


Source area weathering Sorting and recycling Paleoclimate Rif belt Morocco 



We are very grateful to Dominique Frizon de Lamotte who provided insightful and constructive reviews of this paper. Thanks to Faouzia Haissen for her great support. Mansour El Garni kindly reviewed and improved the final version of the manuscript and is greatly thanked for his efforts. Many thanks go to Lhou Maacha, General Manager of Exploration, Managem Group, who performed trace and REE analysis respectively. Ammar bin Abdul Monem Amin, Dean of Faculty of Earth Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, is thanked for the major oxide analysis. Warm thanks to André Michard ans Salvatore Critelli, who kindly reviewed and improved the final version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed El Mourabet
    • 1
  • Ahmed Barakat
    • 1
  • Mohamed Najib Zaghloul
    • 2
  • Mohamed El Baghdadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Georessources and Environment Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Sultan Moulay Slimane UniversityBéni-MellalMorocco
  2. 2.Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and TechniquesUniversity Abdelmalek EssaadiTangerMorocco

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