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RED SED: comparative sedimentology of the Red Sea-Gulf of Aden Rift System


A study has been carried out on the sedimentary expressions of rifting in the rift system comprising the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Siliclastic sedimentation and rift tectonics have been studied in Egypt, Sudan and Yemen.
Carbonate platform development has been studied in several localized areas. Best exposures occurred on the Egyptian coast, where detailed study of the Abu Shaar block demonstrated the evolution of the platform with respect to the preexisting structural relief and to repeated synsedimentary tilting of the block.
Relationships between the form of particular sedimentary bodies and the morphostructural architecture of the region have been established.
Evaporite tectonics have been confirmed as an integral part of rift dynamics.
Some studies on the identification of features caused by vertical components of rift evolution have been carried out.
Sequence boundaries caused by sea level fluctuation have been identified.
In a comparative study of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden sedimentation, important differences have emerged. Oceanographic coring has revealed faunal and mineralogical differences, attributed to the isolation of the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean with falls in sea level.
Climatic fluctuations have been found to be expressed in synrift sediments. Although mainly arid, Quaternary glacial fluctuations resulting in more humid climates have been identified.
Coastal sediments have been studied and showed on intricate variation, dependent on morphology and climate.
Unexpected results include the identification of numerous Quaternary/Holocene turbiditic layers in the Red Sea, synrift volcanics in North Yemen, deep marine lithified crusts at several localities and a modified interpretation of Miocene evaporite sedimentation in the Red Sea.


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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
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Station Zoologique
06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer

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