Petrography and heavy minerals analysis for recognition of the depositional history of the Wahiba Sand Sea, Sultanate of Oman

Amin Gheith*, Ali Al-Balushi, Mohamed Hereher, Youssef Sherief, Talal Al-Awadhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study deals with the microscopic investigation of the Wahiba sand dunes to deduce the depositional history and the provenance. Petrographic investigation reveals that Wahiba sands consist mainly of fine to very fine-grained and moderately well-sorted siliciclastic-carbonate components. Sand components consist of quartz, feldspar (microcline and plagioclase), fossils (benthic foraminifera and shell fragments), and several kinds of rock fragments; sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. The heavy minerals recognized in Wahiba sand dunes include opaque iron minerals, augite, hornblende, epidote, zircon, tourmaline, rutile, garnet, kyanite, olivine, biotite, and chlorite, in addition to weathered carbonate minerals. These kinds of heavy minerals indicate that Wahiba dunes are derived mainly from igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary sources. Ancient wadis brought ambiguous amounts of detrital materials from the steep mountains to be deposited in the marine shelf environment, then mixed with recent marine deposits and reworked by currents and waves. When sea level dropped in the Late Quaternary, these continental shelf deposits were subjected to subaerial processes where winds expedited the transport of the mixed siliciclastic-carbonate sediments to form aeolianites near the coast. These aeolianites have been recycled again by the complex wind processes and mixed with recent detrital materials. The latter originated from the steep mountains in the northeast and west to form the northern Wahiba dunes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1444
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Heavy minerals
  • Petrographic description
  • Provenance
  • Sea-level change
  • Sultanate of Oman
  • Wahiba Sand Sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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