Tracing Oligocene-Miocene source-to-sink systems in the deep Levant Basin: A sandstone provenance study

Adar Glazer*, Dov Avigad, Navot Morag, Axel Gerdes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Levant Basin in the Eastern Mediter-ranean contains an ~3-km-thick, predomi-nantly siliciclastic section of Oligocene-Mio-cene age, which hosts large hydrocarbon reservoirs (“Tamar Sands Play”). Here, we present a provenance study of Oligocene-Miocene sandstones based on detrital zircon U-Pb-Hf and heavy mineral assemblages. Samples were retrieved from four boreholes across the Levant Basin: Myra-1, Dolphin-1, Leviathan-1, and Karish North-1. Our in-vestigations revealed that the sediments are dominated by Neoproterozoic and older Precambrian zircons with variable Hf iso-topic composition, indicating that they were mainly reworked from Paleozoic-Mesozoic sandstones of African-Arabian provenance, with minor derivation from the Neoprotero-zoic basement of the Arabian-Nubian Shield. Variations in the proportions of pre-900 Ma zircons were encountered in various levels of the siliciclastic section. These zircons were markedly enriched (44%-57%) in the Rupe-lian and Aquitanian-Burdigalian intervals, accompanied by abundant detrital apatite peloids in the heavy mineral fraction, and relatively sparse (21%-38%) in the Chat-tian-Aquitanian and Langhian-Tortonian intervals, alongside scarce Mesozoic-Ceno-zoic zircons. These findings allow us to asso-ciate the deep-basin detrital record with two sedimentary transport systems that reached the Levant Basin from both NE Africa and Arabia simultaneously until the late Mio-cene, when sediment transport from Arabia ceased. While Rupelian and Aquitanian-Burdigalian sediments, including the main section of the “Tamar Sands,” were derived mainly from Arabian sources via the Levant continental margin, Chattian-Aquitanian and Langhian-Tortonian sediments were primarily sourced from NE Africa via the Nile Delta. Detrital contribution from the Eurasian side of the Eastern Mediterranean was not identified, suggesting that sand origi-nating in the Arabia-Eurasia collision belt did not reach the Levant Basin.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1587-1604
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2024

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