Chemical compositional studies of marginal rift and plateau basalts from Saudi Arabia Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0v838424r

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  • The analysis of 64 rock samples from Saudi Arabia and three samples from the axial trough of the Red Sea has been done. Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was the analytical tool used for the analysis of at least 18 and as many as 24 elements in these 67 rock samples. The samples represent an igneous and plutonic sequence of rocks relating to the entire development of the Red Sea. This involves initial rifting and magmatic activity of the continent, continental break-up, and contemporary sea-floor spreading in the region. The trace element contents, especially the rare earth elements (REE), unambiguously illustrate a succession of decreasing magmatic differentiation as the continent separated and drift began. The major element content is not as easily understood but likely represents varying degrees of partial melting in the formation of the magma. The conditions under which this magma formation occurred might be expected to vary during the mantle convection cell development. This work, coupled with recent geochronological information, establishes a sequence of activities involved in the formation of the Red Sea. A model for formation is proposed. Critical to this model is the assumption that the Red Sea developed to its present configuration in two stages. The first stage began during early Miocene time, whereafter continental drift and sea-floor spreading occurred until late Miocene time. The area then lay dormant for 10 million years and the mechanism only recently ( < 3 million years) began to operate. Geochemical and geochronological data is presented to support this model.
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