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Rejuvenation of the eastern Mediterranean passive continental margin in northern and central Sinai: new data from the Themed Fault

  • A. R. Moustafa (a1) and M. H. Khalil (a2)

Abstract

The Themed Fault marks the southernmost border of the Early Mesozoic passive continental margin of north Sinai. This 200-km long fault transects the northern part of the Tih Plateau that supposedly occupies a tectonically stable area. Post-Middle Eocene–pre-Early Miocene rejuvenation of this fault proceeded by right-lateral wrenching and represents a newly recognized phase of deformation in the history of north and central Sinai. The minimum estimate for the strike-slip movement on this fault is about 300–750 m. To the north of the Themed Fault is a narrow fault belt (Sinai hinge belt) that marks the boundary between a tectonically unstable crustal block to the north (the north Sinai fold belt area) and a tectonically stable crustal block to the south, the main part of the Tih plateau area.

Four phases of dextral wrenching rejuvenated the faults of the Early Mesozoic passive continental margin in northern Egypt; one of them affected the Themed Fault. The oldest (Dl) deformation is early Late Senonian and is related to the closure of Neotethys and the Eastern Mediterranean basin. The D1 deformation proceeded by pure wrenching in the north Western Desert of Egypt. In contrast, it proceeded by transpression in north Sinai due to the irregular plate boundary and the relationship of this boundary to the slip vectors. D2 deformation (post-Middle Eocene–pre-Early Miocene) is clear in the Themed Fault area although reported herein for the first time; it is related to continued closure of the Eastern Mediterranean basin and proceeded by pure wrenching. D3 deformation (Late Oligocene–Early Miocene) proceeded by divergent wrenching in the north Eastern Desert and is kinematically related to the transfer of slip from the nearby faults of the Suez rift. D4 deformation (post-Early Miocene to Recent) affected the Sinai hinge belt by pure wrenching and is probably related to the left-lateral slip on the Dead Sea Transform and the related drag of the eastern edges of the fault blocks of this hinge belt. Recent seismic activity in the Sinai hinge belt perhaps indicates that the D4 deformation has continued to the present time, although morphological expression of recent tectonic movement is lacking. In contrast, the Themed Fault is seismically quiet at present.

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Rejuvenation of the eastern Mediterranean passive continental margin in northern and central Sinai: new data from the Themed Fault

  • A. R. Moustafa (a1) and M. H. Khalil (a2)

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