A Deep Seismic Study of the United Arab Emirates: Implications for Collision Tectonics and Ophiolite Emplacement

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mohammed Yusuf Ali, Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Anthony Brian Watts, Univ Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
We recently carried out the first integrated deep seismic experiment in the United Arabic Emirates (UAE) from the Arabian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. Reflection data were acquired along 925 line km in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman using a large-volume airgun source (7060 cubic inches) and up to 5 km long streamer. Refraction data were acquired along selected reflection lines using 25 land recording stations in the UAE. In addition, gravity and magnetic anomaly data were acquired along all the seismic lines.

The objective of the seismic experiment is to determine the crust and mantle structure associated with UAE orogenic belt, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf. In addition, the experiment aims to determine mechanisms of ophiolite emplacement and the velocity structure of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath the orogenic belt and the flanking UAE foreland basin and offshore Furairah/Sharjah.

Preliminary results of the experiment will be presented including initial findings of seismic reflection, refraction and potential field data. Seismic reflection data in the Gulf of Oman, for example, show evidence for post-rift and syn-rift sedimentation, tilted fault blocks and re-activated faults that appear to have offset the seafloor. Other findings include delineation, using gravity and magnetic data, of the offshore extent of the ophiolite, its thickness and the nature of its bounding faults.