STRATIGRAPHIC SETTING AND MINERALOGICAL STUDY ON THE EOCENE IRONSTONES OF GABAL GHORABI MINE AREA, EL BAHARIYA DEPRESSION, WESTERN DESERT, EGYPT

Ashraf Fahmy Ismael

Abstract


Eocene ironstone of Gabal Ghorabi mine area (El Bahariya depression, Egypt), represents an
unconformity-bounded condensed succession, exhibiting a lateral facies change towards the equivalent
relatively thicker carbonates of the surrounding scarps. It rests unconformably on different horizons of the
underlying folded Cenomanian Bahariya Formation and is subdivided into two main shallowing-upward
ironstone sequences, separated by an intra-Eocene (paleokarst) unconformity. The lower ironstone sequence
comprises four ironstone facies namely: a) lagoonal/tidal flat mud-ironstone facies, b) lagoonal fossiliferous
ironstone facies (proximal tempestite), well developed in the southern sector of Gabal Chorabi mine area, c)
shallow subtidal-intertidal nummulitic-ooidal-oncoidal ironstone facies, dominated in the southern and
central sectors of Gabal Chorabi, and d) Shallow subtidal nummulitic ironstone facies, that dominated in the
northern sector. The upper ironstone sequence begins by the deposition of shallow subtidal green mudstone
facies as a result of a new marine transgression followed by a peritidal ironstone sequence, which consists of
three repeated shallowing-upward cycles. The upper ironstone sequence is intensively lateritized and
karstified and iron ore laterite and stratabound karst-related barite are formed. The main valuable minerals
founded in the area are haematite and goethite, and the main gangue minerals are quartz, dolomite, apatite
and barite.


Keywords


Ironstone; Stratigraphy; Mineralogy; Gabal Ghorabi; El-Bahariya; Egypt.

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