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Sedimentology of the lower Hofuf Formation, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and the chances for gold prospection

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Abstract:

Fine-grained to pebbly coarse-grained fluvial sandstones of the Late Miocene to Pliocene Hofuf Formation crop out in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The sandstones comprise three distinct facies: clast-supported gravel and conglomerate, coarse-grained sandstone and fine-grained sandstone. The gravels and conglomerates are rich in pebbles of various igneous and metamorphic rocks derived from the gold-bearing Arabian Shield as well as limestone, dolomite and marl derived from the Phanerozoic. The sandstone shows a uniform framework composition dominated by monocrystalline quartz and feldspar with less abundant polycrystalline quartz, calcite, and micas and igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock fragments. A geochemical signature of gold (placer) deposits was detected in the lower unit of the Hofuf Formation in the Hofuf and Harad areas. The very fine-grained fraction (Ø < 125 μm) of the Hofuf area contains the highest amounts of gold (0.16-1.87 ppm), the gold dispersion anomaly in the Haradh area is of a high extent (24.22-4.83 ppm). The primary gold source is probably related to weathering of paleo-placers, and/or to weathering and transport of gold-bearing igneous rocks from the Arabian Shield.

Keywords: ARABIAN SHIELD; CENOZOIC; FLUVIAL TRANSPORT; GOLD DEPOSITS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0077-7749/2007/0243-0325

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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