El Sibai gneissic complex, Central Eastern Desert, Egypt: Folded nappes and syn-kinematic gneissic granitoid sheets - not a core complex

Abdel Rahman Fowler, Hossam Khamees, Hamed Dowidar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The El Sibai area of the Central Eastern Desert (CED) of Egypt consists of an ophiolitic association of arc metavolcanics, ophiolitic rocks, mélange, metasediments and minor mafic intrusions; and a gneissic association of amphibolite, gneissic diorite, tonalite, granodiorite and granite. Previous studies of the El Sibai area have identified the gneissic association as a lower crustal infrastructure in sheared contact with upper crustal ophiolitic association suprastructure, and have presented it as an example of a metamorphic or magmatic core complex. Detailed structural remapping of the El Sibai area reveals that the gneissic association rocks are not infrastructural but form a unit within the ophiolitic association nappes. Furthermore, the El Sibai structure is not domal in shape, and is not antiformal. The main gneissic association rocks are tabular intrusions roughly concordant with the shears dividing the ophiolitic association into nappes, and are syn-kinematic with the nappe stacking event (∼700-650 Ma). The gneissic granite tabular intrusions and their ophiolitic host were later folded about upright NW-SE trending mainly open folds during a NE-SW directed shortening event (∼625-590 Ma). Subsequently, NW-SE regional extension effects became evident including low angle normal ductile shear zones and mylonites. The latest gneissic red granites are syn-kinematic with respect to these shear zones. Probably continuing from the low-angle shearing event were steep normal faults, and sinistral WNW and N-S trending transcurrent faults (∼590-570 Ma). The normal faults mark the southeastern and maybe also the northwestern limits of the El Sibai gneissic association rocks. The El Sibai complex is not a core complex, but exemplifies the overlap of NW-SE folding and NW-SE extensional which is a significant theme of CED regional structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Gneissic complex
  • Regional extension parallel to fold hinges
  • Syn-kinematic granitoid intrusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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