A Fossil hunting guide to the tertiary formations of Qatar, Middle-East

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The geology and fossil occurences of all the surface formations of Qatar


<p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To</p> <p>the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>By: Jacques LeBlanc Geologist First Edition</p> <p>March 2008</p> <p>(Second edition to be published in 2009)</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>CONTENTSContents About the author About Qatar Note from the author Foreword &amp; Disclaimer 1) Introduction A. Previous Surface Geological and macropaleontological investigations B. Methods to find fossils C. The rules of fossil hunting 2) The surface geology and stratigraphy of Qatar A. Geological setting B. Regional extension of the Tertiary formations cropping out in Qatar C. Rus Formation (Lower Eocene) D. Dammam Formation (Middle Eocene) a. Midra Shale b. Dukhan Limestone c. Umm Bab Member d. Abarug member E. Dam Formation (Miocene) F. Hofuf Formation (Late Miocene to Pliocene) 3) The Tertiary macrofossils found in Qatar 3.1: Rus Formation 3.2: Dammam Formation 3.2.1: Midra Shale 3.2.2: Dukhan Limestone member 3.2.3: Umm Bab member 3.2.4: Abarug member 3.3: Dam Formation 4) Some fossil localities 5) Acknowledgments 6) References 7) Recommended literature 8) Appendices 8a: Definitions / Glossary 8b: Names, coordinates and meaning of the localities mentioned in the text 8c: Visual identification key to some fossils shark teeth 8d: Teeth orientation and series-row terminology 8e: Some sharks and other fishes of the Midra Shale 8f: Specimen sheet 8g: Safe Desert Driving Page 1 2 2 3 4 4 4 9 10 11 11 14 17 19 21 23 23 23 24 30 33 33 34 34 40 41 42 46 52 59 60 62 64 64 69 73 74 75 76 78</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>1</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>ABOUT THE AUTHORJacques LeBlanc graduated as a geologist in 1986 from the University of Chicoutimi in Quebec, Canada. He has worked for various public and private entities in the mining industry in Niger (Africa) and Colombia (South America) and in the Oil &amp; Gas industry in Calgary (Canada), Niger (Africa), Libya (Africa), Chad (Africa) and now in Qatar. Over the years, he has diversified his experience into Oil &amp; Gas Data Management; the reason that really brought him to work with Qatar Petroleum as a Senior Geologist and Data Management specialist for their Dukhan Oil Field Division. Fossil Hunting, on the other hand, has always been for him a passion that he wants to share as much as possible with the public at large. In 1992 he investigated the fossil (Ammonites) occurences on an Aboriginal Land in Canada for a private company involved in jewelry making. A confidential report was written to that effect. From 1993 to 1995, he investigated several fossil sites in South America for a company who provided minerals &amp; fossils to museum and collectors around the world. Several reports were written to that effect. In 1996 (and update in 2000) he wrote Macrofossils: their localities in Alberta, Canada; a 180 page document (downloadable from his website) In 2000 he also wrote A Guide to Macrofossil localities of Libya, Africa; a 79 page document (downloadable from his website). In 2003 he created his own fossil website to reach as many people with the same interest.</p> <p>ABOUT QATARThe State of Qatar is an independent emirate (monarchy) of 11,400 km2 with officially 907,230 inhabitants (2007); 20% of whom are Qataris and the rest are largely other Arab groupsmostly Palestinians, Lebanese, Omanis, Syrians, and Egyptians (20%), Pakistanis and Indians (18%), Iranians (10%), and Europeans and others making up the balance. About half of the population lives in Doha, the capital and commercial center of the country, located on the eastern coast. The country is largely a barren peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The economy of Qatar is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of export income. Oil and gas revenues have been used to diversify the economy, including the development of chemicals, steel, cement, and fertilizer industries and banking. Arabic is the official language, but English is spoken almost everywhere. During the summer months (May to September), temperatures generally average 35C, but it's not uncommon for the mercury to rise to 50C (see the chart below). The 90% humidity that comes with this time of year hangs over the peninsula and sandstorms are frequent throughout the year, especially in spring. During the winter months (December-February) there's the odd shower but the days are mild and pleasant and evenings are cool. Rainstorms, however, can also hit the country in December and January.</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>2</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>Figure 1: Average Temperatures in Doha throughout the year (www.weather.com )</p> <p>NOTE FROM THE AUTHORMy wife Beatriz and I arrived in Qatar from Canada on January 12th 2007. Prior to landing in Doha however, and as a fervent amateur fossil hunter, I had purchased on the internet the 11-page publication by Dr. Edgar Casier on the fossil shark teeth of the Midra Shale (see reference); thus, I knew before touching ground that my passion for fossils would not go starving in Qatar. Soon after my arrival, I enquired around about the best locality(ies) where to collect fossil shark teeth from the Midra Shale. The information I received, together with the growing realisation during my field trips that other interesting types of fossils could be found, lead me to believe that there was a need for a detailed publication on the occurrence of Tertiary fossils in Qatar. Therefore, I took the first steps in deciding to write up the present work; i.e.: dedicated all my weekends of 2007 in the search for fossils in Qatar. It was only the day after the field trips, especially those during the months of July and August when the temperature goes up to almost 50C, that I swore not to repeat this experience over again. Nonetheless, the following weekend we were still out there in our 4x4 with a group of fossil aficionados driving through the rough outback trails that lead to another fun and possibly unique discovery. The current publication is not an exhaustive document on the subject matter. I have been living in Qatar only for one year and there is still a lot to be discovered and investigated. This is why a second edition is planned for 2009. The latter will stress some of the fossils and formations that have been overlooked in this first attempt to understand the various fossils and fossil sites Qatar has to offer. Wishing you all the best while hunting for these undiscovered treasures of Qatar.</p> <p>Jacques LeBlanc Leblanc.jacques@gmail.com http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhomeNOTE: Please do keep in touch in order to provide me with 1) the locality information of your own personal fossil finds in Qatar and, 2) your knowledge of pertinent articles for which I may not be aware of. This information will be useful to publish the next edition which is expected in 2009.</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>3</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>FOREWORDThe current document will discuss the Tertiary geology and macrofossils of the State of Qatar for the purpose of amateur fossil hunting; the two offshore Halul and Shra Auh islands will be excluded due to the distance that separate them from the main land and their general non-accessible nature. The geology of all the Tertiary formations outcropping in the country is briefly reviewed, however, this edition concentrates especially on the Eocene Dammam formation and the Miocene Dam formation for the point of view of fossil hunting since they are perceived by the author as having the most potential to satisfy any avid weekend paleontology aficionados. We expect the next edition to discuss in more details the occurrence of fossils within the Rus and Hofuf formations. We also hope that the present publication will help in putting Qatar on the map of Geo-Tourism.</p> <p>DISCLAIMERThis guide is made for your enjoyment only. The author does not take any responsibilities for injuries or accidents that may be inflicted to the amateur or professional fossil hunter during a field trip in locations described in this document. The reader should always apply common sense while in the field and be prepared accordingly for the outdoors (see appendix 8g). It is also the readers responsibility not to venture on land(s) that belong to the Government, especially those used for military purposes.</p> <p>1</p> <p>INTRODUCTION</p> <p>1A. Previous Surface Geological and macropaleontological investigationsQatar is not lacking in geological investigations; after all, we are in an oil country. The subsurface geology has been studied since the late 1930s, when oil was discovered, and continues to this day to keep all the permit holders busy in the search for the precious commodity. The lithological investigation of the surface geology of Qatar, however, is scarce. It was mainly stratigraphic studies on the calcareous Tertiary sediments and numerous unpublished reports commissioned by oil companies which contribute to the present knowledge of Qatars surface geology. The Early Tertiary sedimentary series have been marginalized in the past. They were held less attractive so as to be not worth any in-depth study. No hydrocarbons have been discovered yet in these rocks thus they may appear today to be more attractive to exploration geologists interested in industrial minerals, precious minerals and hydrogeology. They are certainly fascinating to those interested in studying the fossils of this time period. The only country wide geological and stratigraphical study that the author is aware of took place in 1969 and 1970 when the government of Qatar signed a contract with Bureau de Recherche Geologique et Miniere (BRGM) to carry out on behalf of the Government of Qatar, mineral exploration and investigation all over the territory including the islands under its sovereignty. This study (Cavelier Claude, et al. 1970) is still valid today even though some of the Formation names have changed and the general stratigraphy has been the subject of more scrutiny by subsequent authors. It is this study who really first defined the general stratigraphy and extent of both the Tertiary and Quaternary formations in Qatar; officially putting a name on the fossil bearing beds and correlating them with the adjacent countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates. With his study, Cavelier also produced the first complete surface geological map of 4</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Qatar at a 1:100,000 scale. This map has not been used for the present document since it has been superceded by the more recent 1978 map discussed below. The following year, Dr. Edgar Casier, who had been briefed by Cavelier about the occurrence of fossil shark teeth in the region, spent some time investigating some outcrops and sections along the west coast and the southern region of Qatar. His short, but very useful, study of these shark teeth (Casier, Edgard, 1971) outlined the Midra Shale as a treasure chest to study these life forms and other organisms that lived in the Middle Eocene, more than 48 million years ago. In 1976 Dr. J. Roman published his study on the Eocene and Miocene echinoderms of Qatar in which he describes specimens from the Dammam and Dam Formations in localities such as Zekreet, Qarn Abu Wail and the Doha race track. The data for the geological map (Scale = 1:395,000) still in use today (Figure 2) comes from Data of Environment Public on Qatar GISNet which is based on the field work by Selhurst Engineering Ltd., 1978 and photogeological interpretation of 1:36,000 scale aerial photographs (1977) by Hunting Geology &amp; Geophysical Ltd. Note that this map should also be updated with regards to the time period the Dammam Formation was given (Lower Eocene); it has been established since 1978 that it belongs to the Middle Eocene Period Thereafter, several other authors published on the paleontology of the country about more specific areas. Boukhary (1985) published a paleontological study of the Eocene rocks over a part of the Dukhan anticline and described in detail the nummulite content of the Middle Eocene, while Dill et al (2003) used the same area for a lithological and structural overview of the Tertiary rocks. In 1994 Mr. Wolfgang Herget wrote his Geological field trip to South Qatar in which he describes the stratigraphic column of the area together with some of the geological features. Al-Saad (2002) and Dill et al (2005) published about several aspects of the Dam formation (including paleontology) for all the areas where the formation crops out in Qatar Al-Saad et al (2002) described the stratigraphy and the lithology of the Hofuf formation in the State of Qatar (unfortunately, we were not able to find a copy of this publication, so we include it under Recommended literature) while Al-Safarjalani et al (2004) investigated the same formation in Eastern Saudi Arabia for its potential for gold deposits. Al-Saad (2005) studied the lithostratigraphy of the Dammam formation as a whole and its occurrence in Qatar LeBlanc (2007) wrote a field trip guide to Jaow Al Hamar for the Qatar Natural History Group and conducted the said field trip mainly to initiate a group of about 200 people to shark teeth hunting.</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>5</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>Figure 2: Surface geological map of Qatar; (Centre for GIS). Unofficial southern border. See legend in figure 4</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>6</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>Figure 3: Simplified geological map of Qatar, modified after UNDP (1978) and Al-Yousef (2003). Unofficial southern border. http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/Qatar-Sabkhas.htm (Ian &amp; Tonya West). See legend in figure 4</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>7</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>Figure: 4: Legends of figures 2 (left) and 3 (right)</p> <p>http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome</p> <p>8</p> <p>A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East</p> <p>B.</p> <p>Methods to find fossils</p> <p>Initial steps The procedures to follow when you first start looking for fossils in a new locality/country remain the same whether you are taking up fossil hunting for the first time in your life or you are a well versed individual in this activity. In order to be successful at fossil hunting in Qatar the following is recommended: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Get a copy of the present publication (since you are reading it, I assume this is not an issue); Choose the type of fossils you wish to collect and p...</p>


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