Campanian-Maastrichtian phosphorites of Iraq - Petrology, geochemistry, and genesis

K. S. Al-Bassam, A. A. Al-Dahan, A. K. Jamil

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Bedded marine sedimentary phosphate rocks of Campanian-Maastrichtian age are exposed in the Western Desert of Iraq, forming part of the Tethyan phosphate province. The studied phosphorites are found in three horizons within carbonate rocks; they are mostly pelletal in texture, associated with bone fragments and detrital quartz grains, and cemented by calcite or chert. The mineralogy of the phosphate is dominated by carbonate-fluorapatite. The phosphate and the associated carbonate rocks are relatively enriched with Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, V, and organic matter. The apatite is enriched with isotopically light carbon and heavy sulfur. The mode of phosphorite formation seems to have included syngenetic deposition of phosphate under reducing, slightly alkaline conditions in shallow marine environment. Decomposition of organic phosphatic remnants appear to have been the local source of phosphorus enrichment. However, the major tectonic and paleogeographic development of the Tethys Sea during Upper Cretaceous have probably played an important role in providing suitable setting for large scale formation of phosphorite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-233
Number of pages19
JournalMineralium Deposita
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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