Geology of the Tarif 1:100 000 map sheet, 100-20, United Arab Emirates

Ellison, R.A.; Lee, J.R.; Farrant, A.R.; Newell, A.J.. 2012 Geology of the Tarif 1:100 000 map sheet, 100-20, United Arab Emirates. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 33pp.

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This Sheet Description describes the Quaternary and solid geology of the Tarif 1:100 000 scale geological map. The Tarif district includes the northern coast of the UAE between the outskirts of Mirfa in the west and a point about 23 km west of the settlement of Tarif. The onshore part of the sheet extends a maximum of about 11.5 km south from the coast and is traversed by the main coastal road. The entire island of Abu Al Abyadh lies within the district, separated from the mainland by up to 5 km of intertidal flats and a narrow, dredged channel about 250 m wide across which a roll-on roll-off ferry provides vehicular access. The oldest rocks, of Miocene age, crop out in a series of mesas rising above the coastal plain in the south of the district. These consist of the Dam Formation, overlain by the Shuwaihat Formation, which is largely aeolian in origin, and the Baynunah Formation which includes aeolian and fluvial sediments. The onshore area is a coastal plain dominated by sabkha flats less than 2 m above sea level developed on deflated cemented dune sands of Quaternary age. The northern-most 3–4 kilometres of this flat coastal plane comprise a series of sand sheets forming shallow beach ridges, ‘washover terraces’ and fans with patchy sabkha development. Southwards, the sand sheets pass into an 8–10 kilometre wide zone of low-lying, active sabkha. This zone forms part of a classic, world famous, example of a sabkha and coastal plain and has been extensively studied from both an ecological and geological perspective. In this district much of it has been disturbed by digging and reclamation. Mesas, generally elongated north-west to south-east because of deflation by the prevailing north westerly Shamal wind, stand up to 25 m above the flats and on the rising ground at the southern limits of the sabkha flats. These are outliers of a former continuous cover of Miocene sand-dominated sequences, including the Shuwaihat and Baynunah formations. Abu Al Abyadh Island is one of a number of barrier islands that extend from north of Abu Dhabi to Marawah Island, west of the present area. The inlet between the island and the mainland is the eastern part of an open lagoon known as the Khor Al Bazam. In common with other barrier islands, it has a core of Pleistocene aeolian dune sand around which a series of carbonate sand ridges and bars of Holocene age were accreted. These have been deflated in large areas to less than 2 m above sea-level leading to local sabkha development. The island is generally flat but punctuated by small mesas, known locally as zeugen, forming mushroom-shaped outcrops rising up to 4 m and capped with thin marine limestones attributed to the Fuwayrit Formation of late Pleistocene age. Offshore to the north of the island, below low water, is an area of reefs and coral algal sands called the Great Pearl Bank, on account of the former pearling industry in the region.

Item Type: Publication - Book
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > BGS Corporate
ISBN: 9780852727294
Funders/Sponsors: Ministry of Energy United Arab Emirates
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item can be purchased from
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 01 Aug 2012 14:11 +0 (UTC)

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