A slightly different image this week; this comes from the paper I've just had accepted for publication in the Journal of Stuctural Geology. This is a normal fault plane from the Gulf of Suez (surprise!), modelled in TrapTester software from our LiDAR data, and contoured for throw values (throw is the amount of vertical displacement of strata across the fault). We are in the hanging wall, looking toward the fault plane. As is typical, the throw contours are elliptical, and throw is highest at a roughly central point, decreasing outward. A reasonable assumption is that the fault initiated at the point of highest throw. This occurs at a level above the pre-rift/syn-rift contact, suggesting that this fault initiated within the syn-rift strata relatively late in the history of the rift.
I'm absolutely delighted, because I heard this morning that one of the papers on the Gulf of Suez work we're doing at Manchester has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Structural Geology, pending minor revisions. I will write a little more on the paper when I get a chance, probably next week. To summarise, it uses the LiDAR data we have in the Gulf of Suez to reconstruct the geological history of small fault-controlled basin, in a more detailed way than has been possible with other techniques. This is the first paper on the Gulf of Suez LiDAR work to come out, and I think that it is suitably impressive. Watch this space for more details.
Apologies for the brief hiatus in the image of the week. It's the start of term, I'm moving house, and I have an interview on Monday. Not that I'm making excuses or anything.
This is a nice illustration of sedimentation and tectonics in the Suez rift. The picture is taken on the footwall of the Nukhul fault, looking west into the syn-rift units preserved in the hanging-wall. There is an approximately east-striking fault cutting the syn-rift units. The Abu Zenima Formation can be seen thinning dramatically onto the footwall of that fault. The thinning is accomodated partly by onlap onto the underlying pre-rift units, and mainly by erosional truncation at the base of the Nukhul Formation. In the hanging-wall, the Nukhul Formation is slightly thicker than in the footwall, and also contains a higher proportion of fluvial conglomerate. The displacement on the fault can be seen to increase downward.
There was sad news for me this week, and for more or less everyone who has done geological fieldwork in Egypt. Sayed Gooda, our driver on our trips to Sinai, has passed away.
Without Sayed, our work would have been a lot more difficult. Sayed didn't just drive us, over bad roads and difficult terrain. He looked after us, kept us out of trouble, made us delicious sandwiches for lunch (the highlight of the Sinai field day), and tried valiantly to teach us Arabic . Practically everyone who has worked on the Gulf of Suez owes something to Sayed. I will always remember arriving in a hot, noisy and fume-choked Cairo for the first time, nerves jangling from an overnight flight from Amsterdam, and being put at ease right away by the big friendly man in the big friendly green jeep.
Sayed was in Saudi Arabia when he passed away, and has been buried there. In the e-mail telling us of his death, his friend Tarek Moustafa wrote "I think he died Happy as this would have been a dream come true to him to die in the Holy lands". We can only hope so. Thanks for everything, Sayed.
This blog is written by Dr. Paul Wilson, a researcher in the field of structure and tectonics of geological basins at the University of Manchester. It contains comments and discussion of new research on the geology of basins and petroleum geology. My intention is to pitch this at roughly the level of the scientifically literate general reader. I welcome comments, and especially suggestions as to how I can improve this site.