Tectonostratigraphic Study of Carbonate Breccias (Calciturbidites) in the Upper Triassic Baluti Formation (Northern Iraq): New Insights on Tethyan Geodynamics

  • Sa’ad Z. A. Kader Al-MashaikieEmail author
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


This study aims at describing the sedimentology and geodynamics of the Upper Triassic Baluti Formation from north Iraq. During Late-Triassic period, rift tectonic movement started to spread the Neo-Tethys Ocean in northwest of Gondwana super continent. Intracratonic basins were created where carbonate sediments were deposited in a ramp setting and were interbedded with evaporite near the paleo shore line. The evolution of the rift spreading induced the deposition of polygenetic carbonate breccia and slumps the transition from the ramp to deeper margins. Several types of brecciated sediments are observed in the Baluti Formation. Slump carbonate breccias are arranged in calciturbidite succession and are interbedded with lithic sandstone and thick shale, and sometimes fragmented shales. Along rift-relate fault zones, tectonic breccia was formed. Karstic carbonate breccia type was formed due to the dissolution of evaporites and collapse of the cavities roofs, forming another type of carbonate breccia in the Baluti Formation. Tectogenic-diagenetic breccia was formed due to intense dissolution of the carbonate fragments resulting in a late diagenetic breccia. The circulations of fluids through fault zones led to partial dissolution, dolomitization, dedolomitization, micritic-recrystallization and calcitization processes. The fault systems which resulted from the continuous geodynamic evolution of the rift induced the formation of these various types of carbonate breccias in the Late Triassic period.


Polygenetic breccia Baluti formation Intracratonic basin Rift movement Geodynamic evolution Late triassic 


  1. Al-Laboun AA (1986) Stratigraphy and hydrocarbon potential of the Paleozoic succession in both Tabuk and Widyan basins, Arabia. Am Assoc Pet Geol Mem 40:373–397 Google Scholar
  2. Altiner D (1984) Upper Permian foraminiferal biostratigraphy in some localitites of the Taurus Belt. In: Tekeli O, Gonuoglu MC (eds) Geology of the Taurus Belt. MTA Ankara, Turkey, pp 255–268Google Scholar
  3. Altiner D (2000) Upper permian foraminiferal biofacies belts in Turkey: palaeogeographic and tectonic implications. In: Bozkurt E, Winchester JA, Piper JDA (eds) Tectonics and magmatism in Turkey and the surrounding areas. geological society, London, Special Publication 173, pp 83–96Google Scholar
  4. Aqrawi AM, Goff CJ, Horbury DA, Sadoone NF (2010) The petroleum geology of Iraq. Scientific Press, UK, p 424Google Scholar
  5. Arac M, Yilmaz E (1990) Facies analysis of Bakuk formation (Cudi group) in the south of Petroleum district XII, southeast Turkey. In: Proceedings of the 8th Petroleum congress of Turkey, Ankara, pp 281–289Google Scholar
  6. Bellen RCV, Dunnington HV, Wetzel W, Morton DM (1959) Lexique stratigraphique international, Asie Fasc. 10a, Centre Natl. Recherche Sci. Paris, Iraq, p 333Google Scholar
  7. Bolton CMG (1955) Geological map-Kurdistan series, scale 1:100,000 sheet K4 Ranya. Site. Inv. Co. Report, Library, No. 276, BaghdadGoogle Scholar
  8. Brew G, Litak R, Barazangi M, Sawaf T (1999) Tectonic evolution of northeast Syria: Regional implications and hydrocarbon prospects. GeoArabia 4:289–318Google Scholar
  9. Buday T (1980) The regional geology of Iraq, Volume 1, Stratigraphy and paleontology. In: Kassab IM, Jassim SZ (eds) Directorate general of geological survey and minerals, p 445 (in collaboration with staff members and experts of the State Organization for Minerals, Baghdad)Google Scholar
  10. Burchette TP, Wright VP (1992) Carbonate ramp depositional systems. Sediment Geol 79:3–57Google Scholar
  11. Catalano R, Di Stefano P, Kozu RH (1992) New data on Permian and Triassic stratigraphy of western Sicily. Neues Jahrb Geol Paliiontol Abh 184:25–61Google Scholar
  12. Coniglio M, Dix GR (1992) Carbonate slopes. In: Walker RG, James NP (eds) Facies models: response to sea level change, St. Johns, Newfoundland: Geological Association of Canada, pp 349–373Google Scholar
  13. Cowie JW (1986) Guidelines for boundary stratotypes. Episodes 9:78–82Google Scholar
  14. Crevello D, Schlager W (1980) Carbonate debris sheets and turbidites, Exuma sound, Bahamas. J Sediment Petrol 50:1121–1148Google Scholar
  15. Ditmar V, Iraqi-Soviet Team (1971) Geological conditions and hydrocarbon prospects of the Republic of Iraq (Northern and Central parts). Manuscript report, INOC Library, BaghdadGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunham RJ (1962) Classification of carbonate rocks according to their depositional texture. In: Ham WE (ed) Classification of carbonate rocks: Tulsa, OK, American association of petroleum geologists, memoire, vol 1, pp 108–121Google Scholar
  17. Dunnington HV (1958) Generation, migration, accumulation and dissipation of oil northern Iraq. In: Weeks GL (ed) Habitat of oil, a symposium, Amer. Assoc. Pet. Geol., TulsaGoogle Scholar
  18. Eberli GP (1991a) Carbonate turbidite sequences deposited in rift-basins of the Jurassic Tethys ocean (eastern Alps, Switzerland). Sedimentology 34:363–388Google Scholar
  19. Eberli GP (1991b) Calcareous turbidites and their relationship to sea-level fluctuations and tectonism. In: Einsele G, Ricken WA, Seilacher A (eds) Cycles and events in stratigraphy, Springer-Verlag, Dortmund, pp 320–359Google Scholar
  20. Einsele G (2000) Sedimentary basins, evolution, facies and sediment budget, Springer Verlag, Berlin, p 628Google Scholar
  21. Embry AF, Kolvan JE (1971) Late Devonian reef tract on northeastern bank island, N.W.T. Bull Can Pet Geol 19:730–781Google Scholar
  22. Flugel E (1982) Microfacies analysis of limestones. In: (trans: Christenson K), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, book, p 633Google Scholar
  23. Fuchtbauer H, Richter DK (1983) Relations between submarine fissures, internal breccias and mass flows during Triassic and earlier rifting periods. Geol Rundsch 72(1):53–66Google Scholar
  24. Garfunkel Z, Derin B (1985) Permian-Early Mesozoic tectonism and continental margin formation in Israel and its implication for the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 17:187–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guiraud R, Bellion Y (1995) Late Carboniferous to recent geodynamic evolution on the West Gondwana, cratonic, Tethyan margins. In: Nairin EM, Ricou LE, Vrilynck B, Decourt J (eds) The ocean basins and margins. The Tethyes ocean, vol 8, Plenum Press, New York, pp 101–124Google Scholar
  26. Haak AB, Schlager W (1985) Compositional variations in calciturbidites due to sea-level fluctuations, late quaternary, Bahamas. Geol Rundsch 78:477–486Google Scholar
  27. Hampton MA (1972) The role of subaqueous debris flow in generating turbidity currents. J Sediment Petrol 42:775–793Google Scholar
  28. Handin J, Hager RV (1957) Experimental deformation of sedimentary rocks under confining pressure. Bull Am Assoc Petrol Geol 41:1–50 (and 42, 2897–2934)Google Scholar
  29. Haq UB, Al-Qahtani AM (2005) Phanerozoic cycles of sea-level changes on the Arabian platform. GeoArabia 10(2):1–34Google Scholar
  30. Haq BU, Hardenbol J, Vail PR (1988) Mesozoic and cenozoic chronostratigraphy and cycles of sea-level change. In: Wilgus CK, Hastings BS, Kendall CGS, Posamentier H, Van Wagoner J, Ross CA (eds) Sea-level changes: an integrated approach. Society of economic paleontologists and mineralogists, special publication, vol 42, pp 71–108Google Scholar
  31. Hirsch F (1992) Circum Mediterranean Triassic eustatic cycles. Israeli J Earth Sci 40:29–33Google Scholar
  32. Hirsch F, Picard L (1988) The Jurassic facies in the Levant. J Pet Geol 11(3):277–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hirsch F, Flexer A, Rosenfeld A, Yellin-Dror A (1995) Palinspastic and crustal setting of the Eastern Mediterranean. J Pet Geol 18(2):149–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. James PN, Dalrymple WR (2010) Facies models 4. GEOText 6, Canadian sedimentology research group, geological association of Canada, p 586Google Scholar
  35. James NP, Mountjoy EW (1983) Shelf-slope break in fossil carbonate platforms—an overview. In: Stanley DJ, Moore GT (eds) The shelf-break critical interface on continental margins, society of economic paleontologists and mineralogists. Special publication, Tulsa, vol 33, pp 189–206Google Scholar
  36. Jassim SZ, Goff JC (2006) Geology of Iraq. Dolin Prague and Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic, p 341Google Scholar
  37. Le Métour J, Michel JC, Béchennec F, Platel JP, Roger J (1995) Geology and mineral wealth of the sultanate of Oman. Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals, Directorate General of Minerals, Oman, p 285Google Scholar
  38. Le Nindre YM, Manivit J, Vaslet D (1990) Géodynamique et paléogeographie de la plateforme Arabe du Permien au Jurassique; histoire géologique de la bordure occidentale de la plateforme Arabe, vol 2. French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, document 192, p 280Google Scholar
  39. Lowe DR (1982) Sediment gravity flow: II. Depositional models with special reference to the deposits of high-density turbidity currents. J Sed Pet 52:279–297Google Scholar
  40. Martinsen OJ (1994) Mass movements. In: Maltman A (ed) The geological deformation of sediments, Chapman and Hall, London, pp 127–165Google Scholar
  41. Middleton GV (1993) Sediment deposition from turbidity currents. Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci 21:89–114Google Scholar
  42. Middleton GV, Hampton MA (1976) Subaqueous sediment transport and deposition by sediment gravity flows. In: Stanley DJ, Swift DJP (eds) Marine sediment transport and environmental management. John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp 197–218Google Scholar
  43. Mulder T, Cochonot P (1996) Classification of offshore mass movements. J Sediment Res 66:43–57Google Scholar
  44. Murris RJ (1980) Middle East stratigraphic evolution and oil habitat. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 64:597–618Google Scholar
  45. Perincek D (1980) Volcanics of Triassic age in Bitlis metamorphic rocks. Bull Geol Soc Turkey 23:201–211Google Scholar
  46. Pillevuit A, Marcoux J, Stampfili G, Baud A (1997) The Oman exotics: a key to the understanding of the Neo-Tethyan geodynamic evolution. Geodin Acta Paris 10:209–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Playton TE, Kerans C (2002) Slope and toe-of-slope deposits from a late Wolfcampian tectonically active carbonate ramp margin. In: Dutton SP, Ruppel SC, Hentz TF (eds) Gulf coast association of geological societies and gulf coast section SEPM; technical papers and abstracts. Trans Gulf Coast Assoc Geol Soc 52:811–820Google Scholar
  48. Posamentier HW, Walker RG (2006) Facies models revisited. In: Crossey LJ, Mcneill DS (eds) SEPM special publication 84, Tulsa Oklahoma, USA, p 527Google Scholar
  49. Postma G, Nemec W, Klinsphen KL (1988) Large floating clasts in turbidites: a mechanism for their emplacement. Sediment Geol 58:47–61Google Scholar
  50. Powers RW, Ramirez LF, Redmond CD, Elberg LE (1966) Geology of the Arabian Peninsula: sedimentary geology of Saudi Arabia. US geological survey, professional paper 560D, p 147Google Scholar
  51. Read JF (1985). Carbonate platform facies models. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 69:1–21Google Scholar
  52. Reading HG (1986) Sedimentary environments and facies, 2nd edn. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, London, Edinburgh, p 615Google Scholar
  53. Ricou LE (1994) Tethys reconstructed; plates, continental fragments and their boundaries since 260 Ma from Central America to South-eastern Asia. Geodin Acta Paris 7(4):169–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Robertson AFH (1988) Mesozoic-Tertiary tectonic evolution of the Easternmost Mediterranean area: integration of marine and land evidences. Proc Ocean Drill Progr Sci Res 160:723–782Google Scholar
  55. Rusnak GA, Nesteroff WD (1964). Modern turbidites: terrigenous abyssal plain versus bioclastic basin. In: Miller RL (ed) Papers in marine geology, MacMillan, New York, pp 488–507Google Scholar
  56. Scholle PAD, Scholle U (2003) A color guide to the petrography of carbonate rocks: grains, textures, porosity, diagenesis. AAPG Mem 77:459Google Scholar
  57. Sengor AMC, Yilmaz Y, Ketin I (1980) Remnants of a pre-Late Jurassic ocean in the northern Turkey: fragments of Permian-Triassic Palaeo-Tethys? Geol Soc Am Bull 91:599–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Setudahnia A (1978) The Mesozoic Sequence in South-West Iran and adjacent areas. J Pet Geol 1:3–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sharland PR, Archer R, Casey DM, Davies RB, Hall SH, Heward AP, Horbury D, Simmons MD (2001) Arabian plate sequence stratigraphy. GeoArabia, Special publication 2, Bahrain. 371 pp and 3 enclosuresGoogle Scholar
  60. Shinaq R (1996) Subsurface Triassic sediments in Jordan: Stratigraphic and depositional characteristics, & hydrocarbon potential. J Pet Geol 19:57–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stampfeli GM (2015) Tethyan oceans.
  62. Stow DAV (1984) Anatomy of debris-flow deposits. In: Hay WW, Sibuet JC et al (eds) Initial reports deep sea drilling project 75, U.S. Govt. Print. Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  63. Stow DAV (1986) Deep clastic systems. In: Reading HG (ed) Sedimentary environments and facies, revised edn. Blackwell, London, pp 399–444Google Scholar
  64. Szabo F, Kheradpir A (1978) Permian and Triassic stratigraphy, Zagros Basin, South-West Iran. J Petrol Geol 1(2):57–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vlahovic I, Tisljar J, Fucek L, Ostric N, Prtoljan B, Velic I, Maticec D (2002) The origin and Importance of the dolomite-limestone breccia between the Lower and Upper Cretaceous deposits of the Adriatic carbonate platform: An example from Cicarija Mt. (Istria, Croatia). Geol Croat 55(1):45–55Google Scholar
  66. Walker RG (1992) Turbidites and submarine fans. In: Walker RG, James NP (eds) Facies models: response to sea level change. Geological Association of Canada, St. Johns, Newfoundland, pp 239–263Google Scholar
  67. Walker J, James A (1998) Facies models in response to sea level changes. Canada geosciences, Geotext-1, Geological Association of Canada, p 454Google Scholar
  68. Wetzel R (1950) Stratigraphy of Amadia region. MPC report No. IR/WR 12. Manuscript report, GEOSURV, BaghdadGoogle Scholar
  69. Ziegler MA (2001) Late Permian to Holocene paleofacies evolution of the Arabian Plate and its hydrocarbon occurrences. GeoArabia 6(3):445–504Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, College of SciencesBaghdad UniversityAl-Jadriyah, BaghdadIraq

Personalised recommendations