Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production, vol.11, no.6, pp.2497-2518, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2021, The Author(s).This paper presents the facies and depositional environment of the early Miocene Dam Formation, Eastern Arabian platform, Saudi Arabia. Deposition of Dam Formation (Fm.) was considered as a restricted shallow marine deposition. Few studies suggest the role of sea-level change in its deposition but were without decisive substantiation. Here, we describe the facies and high-resolution model of Dam Fm. under varying depositional conditions. The depositional conditions were subjected to changing relative sea level and tectonics. High-resolution outcrop photographs, sedimentological logs, and thin sections present that the mixed carbonate–siliciclastic sequence was affected by a regional tectonics. The lower part of Dam Fm. presents the development of carbonate ramp conditions that are represented by limestones and marl. The depositional conditions fluctuated with the fall of sea level, and uplift in the region pushed the siliciclastic down-dip and covered the whole platform. The subsequent rise in sea level was not as pronounced and thus allowed the deposition of microbial laminites and stromatolitic facies. The southeast outcrops, down-dip, are more carbonate prone as compared to the northwest outcrop, which allowed the deposition of siliciclastic-prone sedimentation up-dip. All facies, architecture, heterogeneity, and deposition were controlled by tectonic events including uplift, subsidence, tilting, and syn-sedimentary faulting, consequently affecting relative sea level. The resulting conceptual outcrop model would help to improve our understanding of mixed carbonate–siliciclastic systems and serve as an analogue for other stratigraphic units in the Arabian plate and region. Our results show that Dam Fm. can be a good target for exploration in the Northern Arabian Gulf.