Provenance, weathering, and paleoenvironment of the Upper Cretaceous Duwi black shales, Aswan Governorate, Egypt

  • Samir M. Zaid
  • Oussama A. EL-Badry
  • Adel M. Akarish
  • Mahmoud A. Mohamed
Original Paper


The mineralogy and geochemistry of the Upper Cretaceous Duwi black shales of Nile Valley district, Aswan Governorate, Egypt, have been investigated to identify the source rock characteristics, paleoweathering, and paleoenvironment of the source area. The Duwi Formation consists mainly of phosphorite and black shales and is subdivided into three members. The lower and upper members composed mainly of phosphorite beds intercalated with thin lenses of gray shales, while the middle member is mainly composed of gray shale, cracked, and filled with gypsum. Mineralogically, the Duwi black shales consist mainly of smectite and kaolinite. The non-clay minerals are dominated by quartz, calcite, phosphate, dolomite, feldspar, with little gypsum, anhydrite, iron oxides, and pyrite. Based on the CIA, PIA, and CIW values (average = 84, 94, 95, respectively), it can be concluded that the litho-components of the studied shales were subjected to intense chemical weathering and reflect warm/humid climatic conditions in the depositional basin. The provenance discrimination diagram indicates that the nature of the source rocks probably was mainly intermediate and mafic igneous sources with subordinate recycled sedimentary rocks (Nubia Formation). Geochemical characteristics indicate that the Duwi black shales in Nile Valley district were deposited under anoxic reducing marine environments.


Provenance Black shales Upper Cretaceous Aswan 



The author thanks members of the laboratory of the Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute, Egypt, for facilitating analytical work for the present research. Thanks also to the journal reviewers, for their very constructive and helpful comments as well as for editorial comments, which helped to improve the manuscript.


  1. Abou El-Anwar EA, Gomaa MM (2016) Electrical, mineralogical, geochemical and provenance of Cretaceous black shales, Red Sea Coast, Egypt. Egypt J Pet 25:323–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abou El-Anwar EA, Mekky HS, Abd El Rahim SH, Aita SK (2017) Mineralogical, geochemical characteristics and origin of Late Cretaceous phosphorite in Duwi Formation (Geble Duwi Mine), Red Sea region, Egypt. Egypt J Pet 26:157–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armstrong-Altrin JS (2009) Provenance of sands from Cazones, Acapulco, and Bahía Kino beaches, Mexico. Rev Mex Cienc Geol 26:764–782Google Scholar
  4. Armstrong-Altrin JS (2015) Evaluation of two multi-dimensional discrimination diagrams from beach and deep sea sediments from the Gulf of Mexico and their application to Precambrian clastic sedimentary rocks. Int Geol Rev 57:1446–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Armstrong-Altrin JS, Machain-Castillo ML (2016) Mineralogy, geochemistry, and radiocarbon ages of deep sea sediments from the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico. J S Am Earth Sci 71:182–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Armstrong-Altrin JS, Lee YI, Verma SP, Ramasamy S (2004) Geochemistry of sandstones from the Upper Miocene Kudankulam Formation, southern India: implications for provenance, weathering, and tectonic setting. J Sediment Res 74:285–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Armstrong-Altrin JS, Nagarajan R, Madhavaraju J, Rosales-Hoz L, Lee YI, Balaram V, Cruz-Martinez A, Avila-Ramirez G (2013) Geochemistry of the Jurassic and upper Cretaceous shales from the Molango Region, Hidalgo, eastern Mexico: implications for source-area weathering, provenance, and tectonic setting. Compt Rendus Geosci 345(4):185–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Armstrong-Altrin JS, Machain-Castillo ML, Rosales-Hoz L, Carranza-Edwards A, Sanchez-Cabeza JA, Ruíz-Fernández AC (2015a) Provenance and depositional history of continental slope sediments in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico unraveled by geochemical analysis. Cont Shelf Res 95:15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Armstrong-Altrin JS, Nagarajan R, Balaram V, Natalhy-Pineda O (2015b) Petrography and geochemistry of sands from the Chachalacas and Veracruz beach areas, western Gulf of Mexico, Mexico: constraints on provenance and tectonic setting. J S Am Earth Sci 64:199–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Basu A, Bickford ME, Deasy R (2016) Inferring tectonic provenance of siliciclastic rocks from their chemical compositions: a dissent. Sediment Geol 336:26–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berner RA (1982) Burial of organic carbon and pyrite sulfur in the modern ocean: its geochemical and environmental significance. Am J Sci 282:451–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bhatia MR (1985) Rare earth element geochemistry of Australian Paleozoic graywackes and mudrocks: provenance and tectonic control. Sediment Geol 45:97–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Borghesi F, Migani F, Dinelli E (2016) Geochemical characterization of surface sediments from the northern Adriatic wetlands around the Po River delta. Part II: aqua regia results. J Geochem Explor 169:13–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bottcher ME, Hetzel A, Brumsack HI, Schipper A (2006) Sulfur-iron-carbon geochemistry in sediments of the Demerara Rise. Proc ODP Sci Results 207:1–23Google Scholar
  15. Campodonico VA, García MG, Pasquini AI (2016) The geochemical signature of suspended sediments in the Parana River basin: implications for provenance, weathering and sedimentary recycling. Catena 143:201–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Condie KC, Boryta MD, Liu J, Quian X (1992) The origin of khondalites: geochemical evidence from the Archean to Early Proterozoic granulite belt in the North China craton. Precambrian Res 59:207–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Conoco (1987) Geological map of Egypt, scale (1:500,000), NG 36 SE Gebel HamataGoogle Scholar
  18. Cox R, Lowe DR, Cullers RL (1995) The influence of sediment recycling and basement composition on evolution of mudrock chemistry in the southwestern United States. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 59:2919–2940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cullers RL (1994) The controls on the major and trace element variation of shales, siltstones, and sandstones of Pennsylvanian-Permian age from uplifted continental blocks in Colorado to platform sediment in Kansas, USA. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58:4955–4972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cullers RL (2000) The geochemistry of shales, siltstones and sandstones of Pennsylvanian-Permian age, Colorado, U.S.A.: implications for provenance and metamorphic studies. Lithos 51:181–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cullers RL, Podkovyrov VN (2000) Geochemistry of the Mesoproterozoic Lakhanda shales in southeastern Yakutia, Russia: implications for mineralogical and provenance control, and recycling. Precambrian Res 104:77–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davis JC (1986) Statistics and data analysis in geology. Wiley, Hoboken 646pGoogle Scholar
  23. El Kammar MM (1993) Organic and inorganic components of the Upper Cretaceous-Lower Tertiary black shales from Egypt and their hydrocarbon potentialities. Ph.D.Thesis, Cairo Univ., EgyptGoogle Scholar
  24. El Kammar AM (2014) Oil shale resources in Egypt: the present status and future vision. Arab Geo-Front 1:1–34Google Scholar
  25. El Kammar AM, Darwish M, Phillip G, El Kammar MM (1990) Composition and origin of black shales from Quseir area, Red Sea coast, Egypt. J Univ Kuwait (Sci) 17:177–190Google Scholar
  26. El-Azabi MH, Farouk S (2010) High resolution sequence stratigraphy of the Massstrichtian—Ypresian succession along the eastern scarp face of Kharga Oasis, southern Western Desert, Egypt. Sedimentology:1–35Google Scholar
  27. Fedo CM, Nesbitt HW, Young GM (1995) Unraveling the effects of Kmetasomatism in sedimentary rocks and paleosols with implications for palaeoweathering conditions and provenance. J Geol 23:921–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Floyd PA, Franke W, Shail R, Dorr W (1989) Geochemistry and tectonic setting of Lewisian clastic metasediments from the Early Proterozoic Loch Maree Group of Gairloch, NW Scotland. Precambrian Res 45:203–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Garver JI, Royce PR, Smick TA (1996) Chromium and nickel in shale of the Taconic Foreland: a case study for the provenance of fine-grained sediments with an ultramafic source. J Sediment Res 66:100–106Google Scholar
  30. Ghandour IM, Harue M, Wataru M (2003) Mineralogical and chemical characteristics of Bajocian-Bathonian shales, G. Al-Maghara, North Sinai, Egypt: climatic and environmental significance. Geochem J 37:87–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ghanem MF, El-Fakharany MA, Temraz MG, Afife MM, Shehata AM (2016) Mineralogical and elemental compositions of oil shale in Duwi Formation phosphate mines, Safaga-Quseir Egypt. Int J Innov Sci Eng Technol 3(2):479–493Google Scholar
  32. Glenn CR, Arthur MA (1990) Anatomy and origin of a Cretaceous phosphorite-Green sand giant, Egypt. Sedimentology 37:123–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hallam A, Grose JA, Ruffell AH (1991) Paleoclimatic significance of changes in clay mineralogy across the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary in England and France. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 81:173–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hallberg RO (1976) A geochemical method for investigation of paleoredox conditions in sediments. Ambient Species Rep 4:139–147Google Scholar
  35. Hardy R, Tucker M (1988) X-ray powder diffraction of sediments. In: Tucker M (ed) Techniques in sedimentology. Blackwell, Cambridge, pp 191–228Google Scholar
  36. Harnois L (1988) The CIW index: a new chemical index of weathering. Sediment Geol 55(3–4):319–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hayashi KI, Fujisawa H, Holland HD, Ohomoto H (1997) Geochemistry of ~1.9 Ga sedimentary rocks from northern Labrador, Canada. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 61(19):4115–4137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Heath R, Vanstone S, Swallow J, Ayyad M, Amin M, Huggins P, Swift R, Warburton I, McClay K, Younis A (1998) Renewed exploration in the off shore north Red Sea region, Egypt. Proceedings of the 14th petroleum conference, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Cairo, Egypt: 16–34Google Scholar
  39. Hendriks F, Luger P, Strouhal A (1990) Early tertiarymarine palygorskite and sepiolite neoformation in SE Egypt. Z Deut Geol Ges 141:87–97Google Scholar
  40. Herron MM (1988) Geochemical classification of terrigenous sands and shales from core or log data. J Sediment Petrol 58:820–829Google Scholar
  41. Ibrahim DM, Abdel Aziz DA, Awad SA, Abdel Monem AM (2004) Utilization of black shales in earthware recipes. Ceram Int 30(6):829–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jones B, Manning DC (1994) Comparison of geochemical indices used for the interpretation of paleo-redox conditions in Ancient mudstones. Chem Geol 111(1–4):111–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Khalil SM, McCLay KR (2009) Structural control syn-rift sedimentation, north west Red Sea margin, Egypt. Mar Pet Geol 26:1018–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Loukola-Ruskeeniemi K (1991) Geochemical evidence for a hydrothermal origin of sulphur, base metals and gold in Phanerozoic metamorphosed black shales, Kainuu and Outokumpu areas, Finland. Mineral Deposita 26:152–164Google Scholar
  45. McCann T (1991) Petrological and geochemical determination of provenance in the southern Welsh Basin. In: Morton AC, Todd SP, Haughton PDW (eds) Developments in Sedimentary Provenance Studies, vol. 57. Geol Soc London, Spec Publ, 215–230Google Scholar
  46. McLennan SM, Hemming S, McDaniel DK, Hanson GN, (1993) Geochemical approaches to sedimentation, provenance, and tectonics. In: Johnsson MJ, Basu A (eds) Processes controlling the composition of clastic sediments: J Geol Soc America, special paper, 21–40Google Scholar
  47. Mondal MEA, Wani H, Mondal B (2012) Geochemical signature of provenance, tectonics and chemical weathering in the quaternary flood plain sediments of the Hindon River, Gangetic plain, India. Tectonophysics 566–7:87–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moore DM, Reynolds RC Jr (1997) X-ray diffraction and the identification and analysis of clay minerals. Oxford University Press, New York 378pGoogle Scholar
  49. Nagarajan R, Madhavaraju J, Nagendra R, Armstrong-Altrin JS, Moutte J (2007) Geochemistry of Neoproterozoic shales of the Rabanpalli formation, Bhima Basin, northern Karnataka, southern India: implications for provenance and paleoredox conditions. Rev Mex Cienc Geológicas 24(2):150–160Google Scholar
  50. Nesbitt HW, Young GM (1982) Early Proterozoic climates and plate motions inferred from major element chemistry of lutites. Nature 299:715–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ollier CD, Galloway RW (1990) The laterite profile ferricrete and unconformity, vol 17. Canda Verlag, Cremlingen, pp 97–109Google Scholar
  52. Pettijohn FJ (1975) Sedimentary rocks, 3rd edn. Harper and Row, New York 628pGoogle Scholar
  53. Potter PE (1978) Petrology and chemistry of modern big river sands. J Geol 86:423–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Roser BP, Korsch RJ (1988) Provenance signatures of sandstone-mudstone suites determined using discrimination function analysis of major element data. Chem Geol 67:119–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Said R (1990) The geology of Egypt. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam 734pGoogle Scholar
  56. Said R (1992) The geology of Egypt. Elsevier Science Ltd., RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  57. Schulte P, Scheibner C, Speijer RP (2011) Fluvial discharge and sea-level changes controlling black shale deposition during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum in the Dababiya quarry section, Egypt. Chem Geol 285:167–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schulte P, Schwark L, Stassen P, Tanja JK, Bornemann A, Speijer RP (2013) Black shale formation during the Latest Danian Event and the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum in central Egypt: two of a kind? Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 371:9–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schultz RB (1991) Geochemical characterization of black shale types in the Midcontinent Pennsylvanian. PhD dissertation. Univ. Cincinnati, Ohio, 229Google Scholar
  60. Sediek KN, Amer AM (2001) Sedimentological and technological studies of Abu Tartur black shales, Western Desert, Egypt. Physicochem Probl Miner Process 35:141–152Google Scholar
  61. Selley RC (1988) Applied Sedimentology. - Textbook. 446pGoogle Scholar
  62. Selvaraj K, Lin BZ, Lou J-Y, Xia WL, Huang XT, Chen C-TA (2016) Lacustrine sedimentological and geochemical records for the last 170 years of climate and environmental changes in southeastern China. Boreas 45:165–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tawfik HA, Ghandour IM, Maejima W, Armstrong-Altrin JS, Abdel-Hameed A-MT (2016) Petrography and geochemistry of the siliciclastic Araba Formation (Cambrian), east Sinai, Egypt: implications for provenance, tectonic setting and source weathering. Geol Mag.
  64. Taylor SR, McLennan SM (1985) The continental crust: its composition and evolution. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  65. Temraz MA (2005) Mineralogical and geochemical studies of carbonaceous shale deposits from Egypt. Ph.D. Thesis, Berlin Uni. Berlin., GermanyGoogle Scholar
  66. Tobia FH, Shangola SS (2016) Mineralogy, geochemistry and depositional environment of the Beduh Shale (Lower Triassic), Northern Thrust Zone, Iraq. Turk J Earth Sci 25:367–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Turekian KK, Wedepohl KH (1961) Distribution of the elements in some major units of the earth’s crust. Bull Geol Soc Am 72:175–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Verma SP, Armstrong-Altrin JS (2013) New multi-dimensional diagrams for tectonic discrimination of siliciclastic sediments and their application to Precambrian basins. Chem Geol 355:117–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Verma SP, Armstrong-Altrin JS (2016) Geochemical discrimination of siliciclastic sediments from active and passive margin settings. Sediment Geol 332:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Verma SP, Díaz-González L, Armstrong-Altrin JS (2016) Application of a new computer program for tectonic discrimination of Cambrian to Holocene clastic sediments. Earth Sci Inf 9:151–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Vine JD, Tourtelot EB (1970) Geochemistry of black shales a summary report. Econ Geol 65:253–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wignall PBZ (1993) Distinguishing between oxygen and subtract control in fossil benthic assemblages. J Geol Soc Lond 150:193–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zaid SM (2017a) Provenance of coastal dune sands along Red Sea, Egypt. J Earth Syst Sci 126(4):1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zaid SM (2017b) Petrography and geochemistry of the Middle Miocene Gebel El Rusas sandstones, Eastern Desert, Egypt: implications for provenance and tectonic setting. J Earth Syst Sci 126(7):1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samir M. Zaid
    • 1
  • Oussama A. EL-Badry
    • 1
  • Adel M. Akarish
    • 2
  • Mahmoud A. Mohamed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of SciencesZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesNational Research CentreGizaEgypt

Personalised recommendations