New Interpretations of the Rayn Anticlines in the Arabian Basin Inferred from Gravity Modelling

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Saad Mogren AlMogren and Manoj Mukhopadhyay, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Ryan Anticlines comprise of a regularly-spaced set of super-giant anticlines oriented NNW, developed due to E-W compression in the Arabian Basin. Most prominent of these being: the Ghawar Anticline, followed by the Summan, Khurais Anticlines and Qatar Arch. Gravity anomaly is largely characteristic for both Ryan Anticlines and its smaller size version the Jinadriah Anticline in the Riyadh Salt Basin. It displays a bipolar gravity field – a zone of gravity high running along the fold axis that is flanked by asymmetric gravity lows. Available structural models commonly infer structural uplift for the median gravity high but ignore the flanking lows. Here we interpret the bipolar gravity anomaly due primarily to such anticline structures, while, the flanking gravity lows are due to greater sediment thickness largely compacted and deformed over the basement depressions. Further complexities are created due to the salt layer and its migration at the lower horizons of sediment strata. Such diagnostic gravity anomaly pattern is taken here as an evidence for basement tectonics due to prevailing crustal dynamics in the Arabian Basin. Density inversion provides details on the subsurface density variation due to the folding and structural configuration for the sediment layers, including the salt layer, affected by basement deformation. This interpretation is largely supported by gravity forward and inversion models given in the present study what is partly constrained by the available seismic, MT and deep resistivity lines and surface geologic mapping. Most of the oil-gas fields in this part of the Arabian Basin are further known for salt diapirism. In this study the gravity interpretation help in identification of salt diapirism directly overlying the basement is firstly given here for Jinadriah Anticline; that is next extended to a regional geologic cross-section traversing the Ryan Anticlines to infer probable subsurface continuation of salt diapirs directly overlying the metamorphosed basement, sediment deformation pattern skirting the anticlines as well as their relationship of faulting to basement tectonics.