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PreprintGenesis and geometry of tilted blocks in the Theban Hills, near Luxor (Upper Egypt)( 2011-02-16) Dupuis, Christian ; Aubry, Marie-Pierre ; King, Christopher ; Knox, Robert W. O'B. ; Berggren, William A. ; Youssef, Moustafa ; Galal, Wael Fathi ; Roche, MarcThe desertic Theban hills between the edge of the alluvial plain of the Nile and the prominent cliffs at the eastern edge of the Theban Plateau consist of imbricated tilted blocks organized in parallel groups representing successive generations of gravitational collapse structures (or slumps). The older (distal) generations correspond to low, rounded hills farther from the Theban cliffs. The youngest (proximal) generation forms higher hills with young relief. Reverse faults occur at the contact between proximal and distal tilted blocks whereas the proximal tilted blocks rest along listric faults on the substratum (Tarawan Chalk and Esna Shale Formations) and against the Theban cliffs. We hypothesize that the emplacements of the tilted blocks were related to major Pleistocene pluvial episodes, each marked by active flow of the Nile River and significant recess of the Theban cliffs. Tectonic thinning and intensive erosion of the Esna Shale Formation were determinant in shaping the Theban landscape.
PreprintA sea of Lilliputians( 2008-05-27) Aubry, Marie-PierreSmaller size is generally seen as a negative response of organisms to stressful environmental conditions, associated with low diversity and species dominance. The mean size of the coccolithophorids decreased through the Neogene, leading to the prediction that their extant representatives are characterized by poor diversification and low specialization. The study of the (exo)coccospheres of selected taxa in the order Syracosphaerales negates this prediction, revealing that on the contrary some extant lineages are highly diversified and remarkably specialized. Whereas the general role of coccoliths remains indeterminate, this analysis suggests that some highly derived coccoliths may be modified for the collection of food particles, including picoplankton, thus implying that mixotrophy may characterize these lineages. In the extant coccolithophorids, species richness of genera is inversely correlated with the size of cells, definitive evidence that small size is part of a morphologic strategy rather than a sign of evolutionary failure. Because of their extreme minuteness, the extant nannoplankton can be well compared to Lilliputians, but the trend toward size decrease in Neogene lineages is not attributable to the Lilliput effect described by Urbanek (1993).
PreprintAnatomy of a mountain : the Thebes Limestone Formation (Lower Eocene) at Gebel Gurnah, Luxor, Nile Valley, Upper Egypt( 2017-05) King, Christopher ; Dupuis, Christian ; Aubry, Marie-Pierre ; Berggren, William A. ; Knox, Robert W. O'B. ; Galal, Wael Fathi ; Baele, Jean-MarcWe present a detailed geologic study of the Thebes Formation at Gebel Gurnah in its locus typicus on the West Bank (opposite Luxor) of the Nile River in the Upper Nile Valley, Egypt. This is the first detailed measurement and lithologic description of the ~ 340 m thick (predominantly) carbonate section. The Thebes Formation is divided into thirteen major lithic units (A to M). We interpret data on the lithologic succession and variations, whole rock/clay mineralogy, and macro/micropaleontology in terms of deposition on a shallow carbonate platform episodically influenced by continental runoff, and describe six depositional sequences that we place in the global framework of Lower Eocene (Ypresian) sequence stratigraphy. We note however significant incompatibilities between the Thebes depositional sequences and the global sequences. We emend the definition of the Thebes Formation by defining its top as corresponding to level 326 m at the top of Nodular Limestone ‘L’ (NLL), and assigning the overlying beds to the Minia Limestone Formation. New biostratigraphic data and revision of previous studies establish the direct assignment of the Thebes Formation to planktonic foraminiferal Zones E4/P6b (upper part), E5/P7 and (indirectly) Zone E6/P8, and (probably, indirectly) Zone E7a/”P9”, and to calcareous nannofossil Zone NP12 and lower Zone NP13 of the Lower Eocene (Ypresian) and provide a temporal framework spanning ~ 2.8 Myr from <52.45 to ~49.6 Ma for the deposition of the Thebes Formation prior to the prominent sea level fall (~ 49.6 Ma) towards the end of the Early Eocene. Dominantly carbonate deposition, with a strongly reduced detrital influx, occurred on a very wide shelf (probably) at least ~ 100 km from the coastline. The thick sedimentary succession and the marked vertical lithologic variations are interpreted as resulting from sea level fluctuations imprinted on a long-term decrease in sea-level associated with rapid subsidence reflecting tectonic relaxation after the major Late Paleocene tectonic reorganization of the Syrian Arc.
PreprintPharaonic necrostratigraphy : a review of geological and archaeological studies in the Theban Necropolis, Luxor, West Bank, Egypt( 2008-11-09) Aubry, Marie-Pierre ; Berggren, William A. ; Dupuis, Christian ; Ghaly, Holeil ; Ward, David ; King, Christopher ; Knox, Robert W. O'B. ; Ouda, Khaled A. K. ; Youssef, Moustafa ; Galal, Wael FathiWe present a review of archeological and geological studies on the West Bank as a basis for discussing the geological setting of the tombs and geologically related problems with a view to providing archeologists with a framework in which to conduct their investigations on the restoration, preservation and management of the antique monuments. Whereas the geology of the Upper Nile Valley appears to be deceptively simple, the lithologic succession is vertically variable, and we have recognized and defined several new lithologic units within the upper Esna Shale Formation. We have been able to delineate lithologic (shale/limestone) contacts in several tombs and observed that the main chambers in some were excavated below the Esna Shale in the Tarawan Chalk Formation. We have been able to document changing dip in the strata (warping) in several tombs, and to delineate two major orientations of fractures in the field. Investigations behind the Temple of Hatshepsut, in the Valley of the Kings and around Deir El Medina, have revealed four broad regional structures. We confirm that the hills located near the Nile Valley, such as Sheik Abel Qurna, do not belong to the tabular structure of the Theban Mountain, but are discrete displaced blocks of the Thebes Limestone and overlying El Miniya, as supported by Google Earth photographs.