U–Pb Zircon Geochronology and Geochemistry of Some Plutonic Rocks from the Afif Terrane of Saudi Arabia, Arabian Shield: Implications for Crustal Evolution

  • Hesham M. HarbiEmail author
Part of the Regional Geology Reviews book series (RGR)


The study areas (Bulghah and Hamimuah) are located in the Afif terrane between the Halaban–Zarghat fault zone and Ar Rika fault zone. They consist of many gabbroic to granitic I-type intrusions emplaced into Neoproterozoic volcanosedimentary rocks and are intruded by Neoproterozoic A-type granites. The studied plutonic rocks are I-type magmatic rocks, calk-alkaline, metaluminous to slightly peraluminous (A/CNK > 1.2), formed in a volcanic arc setting. On a primitive mantle-normalized spider diagrams, almost all rocks show a significant Nb–Ta–Ti depletions relative to K and La, which is typical of magmatism from a subduction zone tectonic setting. Geochemical features of the mafic intrusion (gabbro and diorite) are comparable to those of the arc-metavolcanic calc-alkaline rocks of the Arabian Shield, which were produced by partial melting of plagioclase- or spinel-peridotite in the upper most mantle <80 km deep in an intra-oceanic island arc. This suggests that the mafic intrusive rocks of Bulghah and Humaymah represent the plutonic equivalents of the Arabian Shield arc metavolcanic calc-alkaline rocks. The compositional variations from granodiorite to monzogranite of Bulghah and Humaymah suggest various degree of fractional crystallization of feldspar, biotite and amphibole. Y/Nb with Th/Nb, Th/Ta and Ce/Pb relationships indicate that the granodiorite and monzogranite were generated by a mafic parental magma contaminated with crustal materials, and controlled by fractional crystallization. Zircon U–Pb dating indicates that the mafic intrusive rocks from Bulghah and Humaymah, Saudi Arabia were formed at ~670 Ma, whereas the granitoid I-type intrusions were formed between 661 ± 5 and 643 ± 4 Ma, confirming the importance of the 640–700 Ma crust forming event in Saudi Arabia.


Arabian shield Geochemistry I-type granitoid Volcanic-arc granite U–Pb zircon dating 



The data presented in this chapter is part of a project funded by Deanship of Scientific Research at KAU (King Abdulaziz University), Project No. 1431/296/145. K.A. Ali is thanked for helpful discussions during the preparation of the text and interpretation the geochemical data. The authors gratefully acknowledge the logistical and other support that they received during the project from the mining and exploration geologists of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) in the Sukhaybarat and Bulghah mining camps. U/Pb analyses were undertaken at the SHRIMP facilities of the John de Laeter Centre, supported by a university-government consortium and the Australian Research Council. We thank University of Oslo, for help with the LA-ICPMS analyses.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mineral Resources and Rocks, Faculty of Earth SciencesKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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