The Phanerozoic successions or cover rocks of the greater Arabian basin host enormous amounts of groundwater, oil, gas, and mineral deposits. The potential reservoir rocks of the Arabian Peninsula in general, and of Saudi Arabia in particular, are primary exploration targets. These rocks are composed mainly of siliciclastics and shallow marine carbonates. Orientalists started geological studies in the Arabian Peninsula in the beginning of the 20th century. Oil companies have been granted oil concessions since the beginning of the last century. Systematic geological survey of Saudi Arabia began in 1933. However, detailed study on Phanerozoic successions was not started until 1935, when geologists of the Standard Oil Company of California began oil exploration in Saudi Arabia, and worked out the stratigraphy of the Al Qasim region. Although most of the Phanerozoic units defined by the Saudi American Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) geologists were included in “Geology of the Arabian Peninsula: Sedimentary Geology of Saudi Arabia” by Powers and others (1966) and “Lexique Stratigraphique International” of Powers (1968), an enormous amount of geologic work has been done since then. As a result, a substantial amount of data has been disseminated in the form of published articles, reports, theses, books, and geologic maps. At present, almost every geological organization in Saudi Arabia has its own terminology and definition of the lithostratigraphic units of the geologic column. This practice has resulted in confusion with regard to the stratigraphy of Arabia and controversies among geologists. The main objective of this volume is to establish a unified, generalized column to be used as reference or guide to stratigraphers of the Phanerozoic. One of the requirements for establishing a formal lithostratigraphic unit is to publish its definition in a recognized scientific medium in conformance with a recognized stratigraphic code. Accordingly, all adopted lithostratigraphic units in this work are formally defined. The formal names of the lithostratigraphic units are used, taking into consideration the rules of the stratigraphic classification and nomenclature in the International Stratigraphic Guide (ISSC, 2004) and the Saudi Arabian Code of Lithostratigraphic Classification and Nomenclature (1984). In general, time-stratigraphic assignments of the Arabian rock units are based on paleontological dating and stratigraphic position. Several pronounced stratigraphic breaks, caused by regional tectonic movements or sea level fluctuations, are identified in the succession. The effect of such breaks is clearly recognized as they divide the succession into well-defined groups. Detailed information about each lithostratigraphic unit is arranged in the following order: rock unit, author(s), year of publication, origin of name, definition, type locality, reference section, thickness, contacts, lithology, fossil content, age, depositional environments, remarks, etc.
Halawani, M.A., Al-Duaiji, A.A., Bahabri, B.H., Basyoni, M.H., Al Dabbagh, M.E., Al Ramadan, K., Al Ajmi, H.F., Al Mahri, A.K. (Saudi Stratigraphic Committee Members), 2013, Phanerozoic Stratigraphy of Saudi Arabia: Part 1 – Paleozoic succession of the Arabian Shelf (Cover Rocks), First Edition: Saudi Geological Survey Special Publication SGS-SP-2012-1, 69 p.