The detrital zircon U-Pb-Hf fingerprint of the northern Arabian-Nubian Shield as reflected by a Late Ediacaran arkosic wedge (Zenifim Formation; subsurface Israel)

D. Avigad*, T. Weissbrod, A. Gerdes, O. Zlatkin, T. R. Ireland, N. Morag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The Neoproterozoic Arabian-Nubian Shield (ANS), which comprises the northern sector of the East African Orogen (EAO), has been deeply denuded in Ediacaran times and its erosional products were deposited across NE Africa and Arabia; they are also found in a number of peri-Gondwana terranes. A vast Late Neoproterozoic clastic wedge, locally interbedded with volcanics, developed on the northern outskirts of the ANS and spread into areas currently at the foothills of the Taurus and Zagros belts to coalesce into a wide peri-Arabian-Mesopotamian basin. The southern limit of this basin is manifested in the subsurface of Israel and Jordan by a few km thick arkose sequence, the Zenifim Formation, which underlies the Cambro-Ordovician quartz-rich sandstones. The detritus stored in this formation was mostly eroded from the adjacent ANS at the cessation of Neoproterozoic orogeny.Along a ~150. km long transect in the subsurface of Israel, the arkosic facies of the Zenifim Formation changes from a proximal alluvial fan in the south, to a sea marginal facies in the north reflecting the transgression of the proto-Tethys onto the decaying Neoproterozoic orogen. We studied the detrital zircon U-Pb-Hf from core samples of arkose from different parts of the Zenifim Formation in order to constrain the composition of its provenance and to obtain the Late-Neoproterozoic detrital fingerprint of the ANS.The proximal alluvial fan and plain facies is dominated by a remarkable concentration of U-Pb detrital zircon ages between 0.6 and 0.7. Ga with a peak around 0.63. Ga, alongside a few older grains (0.8. Ga and 0.9. Ga). Pre-Neoproterozoic detrtital zircons are absent. The youngest detrital zircon population peaks at 0.60. Ga. The entire inventory of detrital zircons yielded positive eHf values between +11 and +5, generally overlapping eHf values of Neoproterozoic rocks of the northern ANS. It is notable that little indication for the exposure of the Cryogenian rocks of the ANS is represented by the detrital zircon signal in the alluvial fan deposits, a feature indicating the prevalence of Ediacaran granitoids in the provenance. Towards the north, the youngest detrital zircons in the sea marginal facies concentrate at 0.58. Ga implying this part of Zenifim Formation is among the youngest Late Neoproterozoic sedimentary units in the northern ANS. The detrital zircon signal exhibits a preponderance of Neoproterozoic-aged detrital zircons peaking at 0.6. Ga and 0.75-0.8. Ga, but Grenvillian-like age peaks at 0.92, 1.0 and 1.1. Ga are also identified. Additionally, a small number of 1.8, 2.1 and 2.6. Ga-aged zircons, and a few Late Neoproterozoic detrital zircons with negative eHf values also occur. Erosion of basement rocks in the northern ANS was generally capable of accounting for most of the detrital zircon spectra in the sea marginal facies, but we point out two other potential sources. Our preliminary investigations indicate that dike swarms that invaded the northern ANS in the mid Ediacaran carry abundant inherited pre-Neoproterozoic zircons and Neoproterozoic-aged zircons with negative eHf values. The presence of such zircons in post -0.58. Ga sediments, subsequently to the major diking phases, can thus be accounted for, at least partly, by the erosion of dikes and associated volcanics. Likewise, a northern provenance that resided within the Cadomian realm or laterally along the Gondwana margin could also play a role in delivering zircons of this type to the sea marginal facies of Zenifim Formation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPrecambrian Research
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Arabian-Nubian Shield
  • Detrital zircon
  • Ediacaran
  • Inherited zircons
  • Sediments
  • U-Pb-Hf


Dive into the research topics of 'The detrital zircon U-Pb-Hf fingerprint of the northern Arabian-Nubian Shield as reflected by a Late Ediacaran arkosic wedge (Zenifim Formation; subsurface Israel)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this