A Fossil hunting guide to the tertiary formations of Qatar, Middle-East

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The geology and fossil occurences of all the surface formations of Qatar


A Fossil Hunting Guide To

the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

By: Jacques LeBlanc Geologist First Edition

March 2008

(Second edition to be published in 2009)

A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

CONTENTSContents About the author About Qatar Note from the author Foreword & Disclaimer 1) Introduction A. Previous Surface Geological and macropaleontological investigations B. Methods to find fossils C. The rules of fossil hunting 2) The surface geology and stratigraphy of Qatar A. Geological setting B. Regional extension of the Tertiary formations cropping out in Qatar C. Rus Formation (Lower Eocene) D. Dammam Formation (Middle Eocene) a. Midra Shale b. Dukhan Limestone c. Umm Bab Member d. Abarug member E. Dam Formation (Miocene) F. Hofuf Formation (Late Miocene to Pliocene) 3) The Tertiary macrofossils found in Qatar 3.1: Rus Formation 3.2: Dammam Formation 3.2.1: Midra Shale 3.2.2: Dukhan Limestone member 3.2.3: Umm Bab member 3.2.4: Abarug member 3.3: Dam Formation 4) Some fossil localities 5) Acknowledgments 6) References 7) Recommended literature 8) Appendices 8a: Definitions / Glossary 8b: Names, coordinates and meaning of the localities mentioned in the text 8c: Visual identification key to some fossils shark teeth 8d: Teeth orientation and series-row terminology 8e: Some sharks and other fishes of the Midra Shale 8f: Specimen sheet 8g: Safe Desert Driving Page 1 2 2 3 4 4 4 9 10 11 11 14 17 19 21 23 23 23 24 30 33 33 34 34 40 41 42 46 52 59 60 62 64 64 69 73 74 75 76 78



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

ABOUT THE AUTHORJacques LeBlanc graduated as a geologist in 1986 from the University of Chicoutimi in Quebec, Canada. He has worked for various public and private entities in the mining industry in Niger (Africa) and Colombia (South America) and in the Oil & Gas industry in Calgary (Canada), Niger (Africa), Libya (Africa), Chad (Africa) and now in Qatar. Over the years, he has diversified his experience into Oil & Gas Data Management; the reason that really brought him to work with Qatar Petroleum as a Senior Geologist and Data Management specialist for their Dukhan Oil Field Division. Fossil Hunting, on the other hand, has always been for him a passion that he wants to share as much as possible with the public at large. In 1992 he investigated the fossil (Ammonites) occurences on an Aboriginal Land in Canada for a private company involved in jewelry making. A confidential report was written to that effect. From 1993 to 1995, he investigated several fossil sites in South America for a company who provided minerals & fossils to museum and collectors around the world. Several reports were written to that effect. In 1996 (and update in 2000) he wrote Macrofossils: their localities in Alberta, Canada; a 180 page document (downloadable from his website) In 2000 he also wrote A Guide to Macrofossil localities of Libya, Africa; a 79 page document (downloadable from his website). In 2003 he created his own fossil website to reach as many people with the same interest.

ABOUT QATARThe State of Qatar is an independent emirate (monarchy) of 11,400 km2 with officially 907,230 inhabitants (2007); 20% of whom are Qataris and the rest are largely other Arab groupsmostly Palestinians, Lebanese, Omanis, Syrians, and Egyptians (20%), Pakistanis and Indians (18%), Iranians (10%), and Europeans and others making up the balance. About half of the population lives in Doha, the capital and commercial center of the country, located on the eastern coast. The country is largely a barren peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The economy of Qatar is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of export income. Oil and gas revenues have been used to diversify the economy, including the development of chemicals, steel, cement, and fertilizer industries and banking. Arabic is the official language, but English is spoken almost everywhere. During the summer months (May to September), temperatures generally average 35C, but it's not uncommon for the mercury to rise to 50C (see the chart below). The 90% humidity that comes with this time of year hangs over the peninsula and sandstorms are frequent throughout the year, especially in spring. During the winter months (December-February) there's the odd shower but the days are mild and pleasant and evenings are cool. Rainstorms, however, can also hit the country in December and January.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 1: Average Temperatures in Doha throughout the year (www.weather.com )

NOTE FROM THE AUTHORMy wife Beatriz and I arrived in Qatar from Canada on January 12th 2007. Prior to landing in Doha however, and as a fervent amateur fossil hunter, I had purchased on the internet the 11-page publication by Dr. Edgar Casier on the fossil shark teeth of the Midra Shale (see reference); thus, I knew before touching ground that my passion for fossils would not go starving in Qatar. Soon after my arrival, I enquired around about the best locality(ies) where to collect fossil shark teeth from the Midra Shale. The information I received, together with the growing realisation during my field trips that other interesting types of fossils could be found, lead me to believe that there was a need for a detailed publication on the occurrence of Tertiary fossils in Qatar. Therefore, I took the first steps in deciding to write up the present work; i.e.: dedicated all my weekends of 2007 in the search for fossils in Qatar. It was only the day after the field trips, especially those during the months of July and August when the temperature goes up to almost 50C, that I swore not to repeat this experience over again. Nonetheless, the following weekend we were still out there in our 4x4 with a group of fossil aficionados driving through the rough outback trails that lead to another fun and possibly unique discovery. The current publication is not an exhaustive document on the subject matter. I have been living in Qatar only for one year and there is still a lot to be discovered and investigated. This is why a second edition is planned for 2009. The latter will stress some of the fossils and formations that have been overlooked in this first attempt to understand the various fossils and fossil sites Qatar has to offer. Wishing you all the best while hunting for these undiscovered treasures of Qatar.

Jacques LeBlanc Leblanc.jacques@gmail.com http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhomeNOTE: Please do keep in touch in order to provide me with 1) the locality information of your own personal fossil finds in Qatar and, 2) your knowledge of pertinent articles for which I may not be aware of. This information will be useful to publish the next edition which is expected in 2009.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

FOREWORDThe current document will discuss the Tertiary geology and macrofossils of the State of Qatar for the purpose of amateur fossil hunting; the two offshore Halul and Shra Auh islands will be excluded due to the distance that separate them from the main land and their general non-accessible nature. The geology of all the Tertiary formations outcropping in the country is briefly reviewed, however, this edition concentrates especially on the Eocene Dammam formation and the Miocene Dam formation for the point of view of fossil hunting since they are perceived by the author as having the most potential to satisfy any avid weekend paleontology aficionados. We expect the next edition to discuss in more details the occurrence of fossils within the Rus and Hofuf formations. We also hope that the present publication will help in putting Qatar on the map of Geo-Tourism.

DISCLAIMERThis guide is made for your enjoyment only. The author does not take any responsibilities for injuries or accidents that may be inflicted to the amateur or professional fossil hunter during a field trip in locations described in this document. The reader should always apply common sense while in the field and be prepared accordingly for the outdoors (see appendix 8g). It is also the readers responsibility not to venture on land(s) that belong to the Government, especially those used for military purposes.



1A. Previous Surface Geological and macropaleontological investigationsQatar is not lacking in geological investigations; after all, we are in an oil country. The subsurface geology has been studied since the late 1930s, when oil was discovered, and continues to this day to keep all the permit holders busy in the search for the precious commodity. The lithological investigation of the surface geology of Qatar, however, is scarce. It was mainly stratigraphic studies on the calcareous Tertiary sediments and numerous unpublished reports commissioned by oil companies which contribute to the present knowledge of Qatars surface geology. The Early Tertiary sedimentary series have been marginalized in the past. They were held less attractive so as to be not worth any in-depth study. No hydrocarbons have been discovered yet in these rocks thus they may appear today to be more attractive to exploration geologists interested in industrial minerals, precious minerals and hydrogeology. They are certainly fascinating to those interested in studying the fossils of this time period. The only country wide geological and stratigraphical study that the author is aware of took place in 1969 and 1970 when the government of Qatar signed a contract with Bureau de Recherche Geologique et Miniere (BRGM) to carry out on behalf of the Government of Qatar, mineral exploration and investigation all over the territory including the islands under its sovereignty. This study (Cavelier Claude, et al. 1970) is still valid today even though some of the Formation names have changed and the general stratigraphy has been the subject of more scrutiny by subsequent authors. It is this study who really first defined the general stratigraphy and extent of both the Tertiary and Quaternary formations in Qatar; officially putting a name on the fossil bearing beds and correlating them with the adjacent countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates. With his study, Cavelier also produced the first complete surface geological map of 4


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Qatar at a 1:100,000 scale. This map has not been used for the present document since it has been superceded by the more recent 1978 map discussed below. The following year, Dr. Edgar Casier, who had been briefed by Cavelier about the occurrence of fossil shark teeth in the region, spent some time investigating some outcrops and sections along the west coast and the southern region of Qatar. His short, but very useful, study of these shark teeth (Casier, Edgard, 1971) outlined the Midra Shale as a treasure chest to study these life forms and other organisms that lived in the Middle Eocene, more than 48 million years ago. In 1976 Dr. J. Roman published his study on the Eocene and Miocene echinoderms of Qatar in which he describes specimens from the Dammam and Dam Formations in localities such as Zekreet, Qarn Abu Wail and the Doha race track. The data for the geological map (Scale = 1:395,000) still in use today (Figure 2) comes from Data of Environment Public on Qatar GISNet which is based on the field work by Selhurst Engineering Ltd., 1978 and photogeological interpretation of 1:36,000 scale aerial photographs (1977) by Hunting Geology & Geophysical Ltd. Note that this map should also be updated with regards to the time period the Dammam Formation was given (Lower Eocene); it has been established since 1978 that it belongs to the Middle Eocene Period Thereafter, several other authors published on the paleontology of the country about more specific areas. Boukhary (1985) published a paleontological study of the Eocene rocks over a part of the Dukhan anticline and described in detail the nummulite content of the Middle Eocene, while Dill et al (2003) used the same area for a lithological and structural overview of the Tertiary rocks. In 1994 Mr. Wolfgang Herget wrote his Geological field trip to South Qatar in which he describes the stratigraphic column of the area together with some of the geological features. Al-Saad (2002) and Dill et al (2005) published about several aspects of the Dam formation (including paleontology) for all the areas where the formation crops out in Qatar Al-Saad et al (2002) described the stratigraphy and the lithology of the Hofuf formation in the State of Qatar (unfortunately, we were not able to find a copy of this publication, so we include it under Recommended literature) while Al-Safarjalani et al (2004) investigated the same formation in Eastern Saudi Arabia for its potential for gold deposits. Al-Saad (2005) studied the lithostratigraphy of the Dammam formation as a whole and its occurrence in Qatar LeBlanc (2007) wrote a field trip guide to Jaow Al Hamar for the Qatar Natural History Group and conducted the said field trip mainly to initiate a group of about 200 people to shark teeth hunting.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 2: Surface geological map of Qatar; (Centre for GIS). Unofficial southern border. See legend in figure 4



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 3: Simplified geological map of Qatar, modified after UNDP (1978) and Al-Yousef (2003). Unofficial southern border. http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/Qatar-Sabkhas.htm (Ian & Tonya West). See legend in figure 4



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure: 4: Legends of figures 2 (left) and 3 (right)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


Methods to find fossils

Initial steps The procedures to follow when you first start looking for fossils in a new locality/country remain the same whether you are taking up fossil hunting for the first time in your life or you are a well versed individual in this activity. In order to be successful at fossil hunting in Qatar the following is recommended: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Get a copy of the present publication (since you are reading it, I assume this is not an issue); Choose the type of fossils you wish to collect and pick the formation in which they are found; Get a JPG digital copy of the Geological Map of Qatar given in reference (Figure 2) Download and install the free Google EarthTM software from http://earth.google.com/ Overlay the JPG file of the Geological Map of Qatar over the satellite image of Qatar within Google Earth. To do this, in Google Earth click on Add and select Image Overlay. In the window that will pop-up, give a name to your map and then upload it using the Browse option. When this is done, stretch the map to make it fit over the satellite image. Play with the transparency option so that you can see both the geological map and the satellite image; Knowing in which formation(s) the fossils you are after occur, locate that formation using its color code on the Geological map. Bring the cursor over a selected area and Google Earth will give you its latitude, longitude and elevation (seen at the bottom left of the screen); If you have a GPS, you can use this data for easy driving and orientation. If you do not have a GPS, you can use the ruler (Tools/Ruler) within Google Earth to measure distances from known landmarks and then print the geology/satellite overlay (at different scales) for reference while you are in the field; Gather information from experienced people/locals about your destination Follow all safety rules for desert driving and fossil hunting stated in the next section below.



8) 9)

In the Field Fossils will either be found loose or embedded in the rock, so make sure you bring a hammer in case the latter prevails. If they have been freed by erosion, look for slopes, ravines or run-off where they could have accumulated by gravity. When you do find fossils, make sure you keep records of where and how you found them together with all the pertinent details by filling out the form provided in appendix 8f. See also appendix 8g on Safe Desert Driving Useful fossil hunting equipment & material (list of general material available in appendix 8g) Hammer & chisel Packsack Satellite image print Good walking /hiking boots Geological & road maps Note book Geology/satellite overlay print Plastic bottles to put your fossils in



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


The rules of fossil hunting

Two main rules prevail in fossil hunting: 1) Be curteous, and 2) Report unusual finds to the authority 1) Being curteous has several meanings in fossil hunting activities. It means: A) To be clean and to pick up after yourself. There is nothing worse than going to an out-ofthe-way place thinking that it may have been several years that someone went there, and to find rubbish left by other parties. The desert is not an open garbage dump. Besides not being appealing to the eye, any rubbish left on the ground becomes a hazard to any wildlife who have already a hard time surviving in this environment. The desert is the home of several groups of animals, from Cape Hares, foxes, rodents, lizards and all types of birds; not to mention some re-introduced species in some areas such as ostriches and oryx. B) Do not destroy the plants. The desert is also the home of several plant groups. Because of their scarcity, the government of Qatar considers all plants (from bushes to trees) as threatened. Important fines are given to anybody found guilty of destroying unnecessarily any plant form. Jail time has also been applied in some cases. 2) Reporting your unusual finds is also extremely important. As a general rule for Qatar, the following are probably worth reporting: A) If you find a fossil that is not mentioned in this publication, or B) If you discover a fossil that is known from Qatar but for which the body part is new. As an example, in the summer of 2007 (and later in 2008), the author discovered some bones associated with shark teeth from the Middle Eocene Midra Shale (Figures 49, 50, 51, 52 & 53). After an internet investigation, he found out that no literature existed with regards to bones from this Geological Member. Therefore, he contacted two reputed paleontologists specializing on fossils of this time period (see in Acknowledgments section); the latter confirmed that the bones belong to the order of Sirenia, or what most of us know as Dugong. Moreover, they stressed that no Middle Eocene dugong bones had ever been discovered on the Arabic Peninsula; geographically, the closest bones of this animal from the same period come from India and Egypt. With the help of Mr. Hussain Al-Ansi, a Qatari geologist and colleague at Qatar Petroleum, the author then contacted the Director of the Environmental Studies Centre of the University of Qatar (see in Acknowledgments section) in order to find a way to investigate the discovery further. This lead to a partnership between the University of Qatar and the University of Michigan. A study is currently being performed by these two institutions and a scientific article is expected to be published in late 2008 or early 2009 in a known paleontological journal. Now that Middle Eocene Dugong rib cages and vertebrae are known from Qatar, the scientists would like to find a skull, pelvis or even some teeth of the animal in order to pinpoint the species they are dealing with. If anyone of you come across these body parts, please contact either myself, the University of Qatar or the two paleontologists (See the free downloadable article on Eocene dugongs from Dr. Domning (1982) - given in Recommended literature - to see how these fossil material look like).



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

2 THE SURFACE GEOLOGY AND STRATIGRAPHY OF QATAR2A. Geological settingQatar forms an exposed part of the Arabian shelf between the Arabian shield and the mobile belt of Iran. It is centered at about 25N, 51E. Topographically, Qatar has a low relief landscape with a maximum elevation of about 103 meters above sea level. Structurally, Qatar appears as an elliptical anticlinal arch with a N-S main axis. The exposed geological succession is made up of Tertiary limestones and dolomites with interbedded clays, shale, gypsum and marls, covered in places by a series of Quaternary and recent deposits. (Table 1, Figures 2, 3 4, 5 & 6). The Tertiary sedimentation started with a marine transgression in the Paleocene (Umm Er Rhaduma Formation, not exposed in Qatar). Later, shallow marine to sabkha conditions prevailed until the end of the Eocene; a carbonate-evaporite sequence (Rus and Dammam Formation) was deposited during this period. A sea regression at the end of the Eocene is marked by a widespread unconformity, causing the absence of Oligocene deposits over most of the area. In Qatar, the Lower & Middle Eocene outcrops are represented by the Rus and Dammam formations. The Dammam Formation is part of the Hasa Group which consists of the Umm Er Radhuma, Rus and Dammam Formations. Vertically upward in the stratigraphic sequence, the Middle Eocene Dammam Formation is succeeded by the Miocene Dam Formation and Pliocene to Late Miocene Hofuf Formation (Nasir et al. 2003). Period Epoch Formation MemberBeach deposits

LithologyCalcareous sand of marine origin including coastal dunes locally cemented Saline and gypsiferous sand and silt flats Mud, continental gravel, siliceous sand & oolitic / conglomeratic sandstone Continental gravel, sand & conglomerate calcareous sediments Limestone, chalk & clay with gypsum & celestite beds siliciclastic-calcareous sediments Dolomite & Limestone Dolomite & Limestone Shale, Limestone Dolomite Limestone & Dolomite &


Holocene & Pleistocene

Sabkha Alluvium, Aeolian sand & calcareous sandstone

Pliocene / Late Miocene


Unit 1 Abu Samrah

Miocene Tertiary



Al-Nakhsh Salwa Abarug

Part of Hasa Group

Mid Eocene Lwr


Umm Bab / Simsima Dukhan Limestone Midra Shale Unit 1 = Al Khor Unit 2 = Traina


Table 1: Generalized stratigraphic column of the surface Tertiary rocks and Quaternary Sediments of Qatar. The colors assigned to each Tertiary members reflect the colors used in the Qatar Geological map in figure 2. Note also the unconformities (green lines) between the four Tertiary Formations and the disconformity between the Umm Bab & Abarug Members (blue line)http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 5: Generalized Stratigraphic column of the exposed rocks in Qatar (modified from Herget, 1994)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 6: Stratigraphy of part of the Gulf showing the times of erosion and the correlation between neighbouring countries (Sharland, 2004)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


Regional extension of the Tertiary formations cropping out in Qatar

Late Paleocene to Early Eocene (Figure 7) This time period spanned the deposition of the Rus Formation in Qatar in a restricted lagoonal to supratidal sabkha setting. Eustatic sea level was generally high with high-frequency regressive events. (Ziegler 2001)

Figure 7: Late Paleocene to Early Eocene (Ziegler 2001)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Middle to Late Eocene (Figure 8) This time period spanned the deposition of the Dammam Formation in Qatar. The eustatic sea-level curve indicates a gradually falling sea level from the base to the top of the Dammam formation. Consequently, it is possible that only a relatively small part of the Arabian Shield was exposed, at least at the beginning of the depositional sequence. (Ziegler 2001) The wide eastern shelf of the Plate was covered by the Dammam Formation (limestone and dolomite, marl and shale) that reach about 30 m thick in Saudi Arabia. The base of the Dammam represents an open-marine environment, whereas the upper part indicates a shallow-marine environment and a siliciclastic influence from the west. (Ziegler 2001)

Figure 8: Middle to Late Eocene (Ziegler 2001)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Miocene (Figure 9): This time period spanned deposition of the Dam and Hofuf Formations in Qatar. During this period the Burdigalian phase of the European Alpine Orogeny occurred. The Gulf of Aden had opened and the Red Sea rift began to separate Arabia from Africa. (Ziegler 2001)

Figure 9: The Miocene (Ziegler 2001)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


Rus Formation (Lower Eocene)

The type-section of the Rus Formation is in Umm ar Ru'us' (south-eastern flank of Dammam Dome (Saudi Arabia); its thickness is 56.4 m. In Qatar, the Rus Formation (only the upper part of which outcrops) constitutes the main part of the Lower Limestone Group. Diagnostic fossils are not known to occur in the Rus Formation.

Figure 10: Stratigraphy of the Rus Formation 1 km East of the Q.P.C. plants in Fehaiheel, in the Djebel Dukhan (Cavelier, 1970) In Saudi Arabia, the Rus Formation may be divided into three lithological units, from top to bottom: Unit 1- Limestone, white, soft, chalky, porous, with thin beds of calcarenite at the top. Unit 2 - Highly variable anhydrite, white, compact, finely crystalline with interbedded green shale, or grey marl with coarsely cristalline calcite and interbedded shale and limestone, or (typical section) light coloured marl with local irregular bodies of crystalline gypsum, and occasionally thin, harder limestone beds; geodal quartz is present at several levels. 17


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Unit 3 - Gray to buff limestone, compact, commonly partly dolomitized; minor beds of soft limestone made porous by leaching of small organic remains. Quartz geodes, typical in upperrmost beds, occur but scarcely in lower part. Only the uppermost part of the Rus Formation is known in outcrops in Qatar. A reference section, where the top of the Rus Formation outcrops over about 25m, was surveyed by Cavelier (1970), 1 km East of the Q.P.C. plants in Fehaiheel, in the Djebel Dukhan (Figure 10). The visible beds of a facies closely related to that of the type locality, belong to Unit 1 in Saudi Arabia and to part of Unit 2. The main profiles occur in the Djebel Dukhan, near Sawdaa natheel and more restricted in the region of Al Khor. Elsewhere, in the depression north of Sawdaa natheel as well as in that south of Djebel Dukhan or in the collapse structures of the central part of Qatar, the uppermost part (Unit 1) only of the deposits are observed The uppermost part of the Unit 1 of the Rus Formation is formed of a granular limestone of calcarenite type, of average hardness, greyish, sometimes with secondary dolomitization and often fossiliferous (Corbula, Cerithidae), typical of the whole Qatar, where its thickness generally remains rather uniform (from 0.80 to 1 m). It is referred to as the Khor Limestone bed; it corresponds to the layer 13 of the cross-section of Fehaiheel (Figure 10) , where it is partly dolomitized. It is particularly well exposed in Al Khor, on the top of the coastal cliffs, where it was formerly extracted as building material. In Fehaiheel, the Rus Formation occurs as more or less irregularly dolomitized limestones, generally whitish or yellowish due to oxidation, soft, of chalky aspect, with thin intercalations or veins of greenish to brownish clay (from a few centimetres up to 0.50 m). Several beds of whitish to greyish dolomitic limestone, compact, rather hard, vesicular, often spongy or tufaceous in aspect, narrow (under 1 m), are generally the only fossiliferous beds (Molluscs from the genus or families: Corbula, Cardium, Hydrobia, Cerithidae ...). They form small bands intercalated in the white soft limestones. The Khor Limestone bed, which belongs to this type, lies at the top (0.90 m). Towards the bottom of the section, the white soft limestones include some quartz occurences (cobbles, secondary quartz of saccharoidal sugar type) which suggest gypseous pseudomorphoses. Cavelier did not observe quartz geode occurences in Fehaiheel, but the latter are present, associated with the white soft limestones at the basal outcrops west of Dukhan, and were penetrated by various bore-holes. Celestite nodules occur in the region of Al Khor (Umm Abdah) and likewise a crystalline quartz bed with bitumen in cavities in the upper part of the white limestones in Simsima. The total thickness of the Rus deposits in Qatar can only be estimated from the results of boreholes; it displays a minimal thickness of about 28 m in Latariyah, in a sharp anticlinal position (Qatari Arch), and hardly more (31 m, 34 or 42 m, 44 m) in the northern region affected by the Simsima Dome. It is clearly thicker in the west or SE (Doha: 84 m), where the gypsum layers were observed. In the offshore area, thickness would be some 112 m in Idd-el Shargi.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

2D. DAMMAM FORMATION (Middle Eocene)After correlating the Dammam Formation with its equivalent in neighbouring countries, Cavelier (1970), introduced the first stratigraphic division of this formation in Qatar. He subdivided it into the Midra Shale, the Dukhan Alveolina Limestone and the Simsima and Abarug members. Later, the Dukhan Alveolina Limestone and the Simsima member were renamed as the Dukhan Limestone Member and Umm Bab Member respectively (Table 1 and Figures 11, 12, 13 & 14). Sugden et al (1975) designated the Dukhan area (lat. 25 28N, long. 50 49E) as the reference section for the Dammam formation where the thickness reaches 52 metres. The Dammam Formation consists at the base of a compact claystone (Midra Shale Member) followed by hard limestone (Dukhan Limestone Member) changing to dolomitic limestone (Umm Bab Member) and ends with the marly dolomitic limestone Abarug Member (Figure 11). It is thickest in western (Figure 12) and southern Qatar

Figure 11: Stratigraphic Section of the Dammam Formation in the Dukhan area (Nasir et al. 2003)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 12: Correlation between the surface sections. A= Reference Section; B= Umm Slal Ali; C= Al Khor (Al-Saad, 2005)

Figure 13: The Upper section of the Dammam Formation 3 km south of Zekreet. Cavelier (1970) 20


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 14: Lower & Middle sections of the Dammam Formation as studied by Cavelier (1970) one kilometre east of the Q.P.C plant Midra Shale The Midra Shale (called Midra & Saila Shales in Saudi Arabia) at the base of the Dammam Formation consists of pale yellow-orange to yellow-green shale and clay and very pale orange marl and dolomite. The shales are finely fissile (papyraceous) and contain clays, dolomite, and gypsum (Figures 15 & 16). The dolomitic marl is laminated and contains some pellet ghosts called ferricrete (Figure 11). It consists of dolomite, clay minerals and minor quartz, feldspar, and gypsum. The Midra Shale Member contains dolomitized benthonic foraminifera, mollusks, and fish remains in some horizons (M. Namik Cagatay, 1990) together with bones & vertebrae of sirenians/dugongs discovered by the author in 2007 & 2008. The Midra Shale is exposed only in west, southwest and central Qatar; however, the Midra in the central area displays hardly any fossils due to its thinning out (figure 12) and lack of good exposures. This unit ranges between 2 to about 6 m in thickness. Iron oxides pseudomorphosing pyrite cubes in the Midra Shale are clear evidence that reducing conditions existed in the basin and the water level was much higher than in the underlying Rus Formation (subtidal/dysaerobic). On the other hand, layers near the top of the Midra Shale abundant in gypsum bear witness of strong evaporation and attest to oxidizing conditions in parts of the basin (shallow marine to supratidal (?)). The MFS Pg20 (Figure 6) is the key element during the Eocene. It was defined based on a strong influx of an open marine fauna in the Midra Shales. This MFS was assigned an early Eocene age by Sharland et al. (200l), based on studies carried out at the reference section of the Midra Shales in Saudi Arabia. In Qatar, however, the MFS Pg 20 is in the lower half of the Midra Shale, where the argillaceous rocks rich in marine fossils such as shark teeth and abundant in allogenic palygorskite are found. The MFS Pg 20 is the most prominent surface for correlation. According to the above data this MFS Pg 20 should have been assigned an early Lutetian rather than Ypresian age.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 15: The top portion of the Midra Shale and the Dukhan Limestone near Umm Bab at 25 13 26 50 47 13

Figure 16: The Dammam Formation showing the bottom portion of the Umm Bab Member, the complete Dukhan Limestone and the top portion of the Midra Shale over the Dukhan anticline



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Dukhan Limestone (formerly called Dukhan Alveolina Limestone) This Member (Figures 14, 15 &16) is a massive limestone generally about 1 m thick but can reach up to 2 m in thickness. It is a hard, microcrystalline, partly recrystallized and dolomitized limestone (M. Namik Cagatay, 1990) and quite fossiliferous [Nummulites, principally Alveolina elliptica SOWERBY var. flosculina SILVESTRI near the base, and, according to Al-Saad (2005) and LeBlanc (2007) echinoid spines, gastropods, mollusks such as Nautilus, and large oystrea]. It consists of a whitish to yellowish limestone (or dolomite) more or less clayey, irregularly rich in Alveolina elliptica var. flosculina. This bed is fairly continuous and may sometimes be divided into two beds by an intercalated attapulgite shale. It appears to represent in fact an upper lithological term of the Midra series, characterized by an abundance of Alveolina. The spread of the Dukhan Limestone appears more restricted than that of the lower shales in north-eastern Qatar, but it is not likely to have been recognized in some cases, due to an intensive dolomitization which obliterates the typical fauna. The Umm Bab Member (formerly called Simsima Limestone Member) The Umm Bab Member (Figure 14 & 16) deposits are represented throughout Qatar, except for the localized areas over which they were eroded. They are essentially highly recrystallized chalky limestones. At the bottom (over a 5 m maximum thickness), they locally include marls and even thin stringers of attapulgite shales quite rich in fossils (Pycnodonte sp [fish]., Ampullospira sp. [gastropod], Gisortia sp [gastropod]., Alveolina [Nummulites]) overlain by an often reddish granular limestone. The overlying fairly calcareous layers carry less Nummulites; on the contrary, Echinoderms are abundant (Scutellina, Echinolampas, ...) as well as some large Molluscs (Campanile sp.. velates cf. schmiedeli [gastropods]). Further up, Echinoderms are locally abundant (western coastline of the Ras Abarug peninsula). Brown chert intercalations are known essentially from northern Qatar, as well as quite irregular attapulgite red clay layers. Abarug Member A reference section was surveyed by Cavelier (1970) 3 km South of Zekreet (Figures 13 & 17), in the first hillock encountered West of the by-road to Zekreet after leaving the Doha-Dukhan road. The lower term (Abarug dolomitic Marl, synonymous with Abarug Chalk), 10.40m thick, consists essentially of a slightly calcareous clayed dolomite, often brightly coloured, compact at depth, but with dusty surface weathering and nodules at the upper part. The upper term (Abarug dolomitic Limestone) about 2m thick, is a slightly calcareous dolomite, yellowish grey to brownish, crystalline, rather hard, with numerous moulds and casts of uneasily determinable molluscs: Corbula (Bicorbula) sp., Cardium, Venericardia, Charnu, Pectinidae, ... Elsewhere, the fauna is better preserved and includes rare Echinoderms and Foraminifera. The only variations observed in this area are related to the intensity of the dolomitization, and to the clay contents of the lower layers. On the other hand, in the SW of Qatar, Cavelier correlated with the Abarug Member some clayey, often nodulous limestones, which are whitish sometimes reddish, generally without fossils, and inserted between the Eocene and Miocene; their thickness varies considerably, ranging from 0 to 10 m.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 17: The Abarug member of the Dammam Formation around Zekreet. The author is looking for echinoderms



The Miocene Dam Formation is located only in the southwestern corner of the Qatar Peninsula (Figure 19a). It has unconformable contacts with the underlying and overlying formations. It overlies the Middle Eocene shaly limestone of the Dammam Formation and is overlain by the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene conglomerate and sandstone of the Hofuf Formation. The Dam Formation represents a complete sabkha sequence in Miocene sediments from offshore to continental deposits. Therefore, from a paleontological point of view, a large variety of fossils can be found. Cavelier (1970) broke down the Dam Formation into two units; the lower and upper Dam subformations (Figures 20 & 21) while Dill et al. (2005) refined the definition by subdividing the Dam into 7 members/lithofacies association. From bottom to top they are: Lower, Middle, Upper Salwa Members, Lower, Middle, Upper Al Nakhsh Members and Abu Samrah Member (Figures 22a & 22b). The Salwa Members (at least 27 metres thick) at the base of the Dam Formation consists of heterolithic siliciclastic-calcareous sediments which were laid down under meso-to-microtidal conditions. The Al Nakhsh Members (33 metres thick) formed under macrotidal conditions with sub-to-supratidal depositional environments passing into continental ones. Celestite, gypsum, and microbial mats (stromatolites) are very widespread in these sabkha sediments. Crystals of gypsum and the thickness of stromatolites tremendously increase towards younger sediments indicating thereby a close genetic link between growth of microbial domes and gypsum precipitation. Throughout the Abu Samrah Member (8 metres thick) marine calcareous sediments were deposited in a microtidal wave-dominated environment. Dissolution of Eocene evaporites at depth governed the lithofacies differentiation in the Miocene Dam Formation (Dill et al. 2005). (Figures 18, 22a & 22b)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 18: The Dam Formation exposed on Khashm an Nakhsh along Salwa Road in SW Qatar. The slopes and top of this djebel is full of gypsum crystals

Figure 19a : Sketch map of the Miocene rocks of Qatar. The Dukhan Anticline extends in NNWSSE direction along the western coast of Qatar. The dotted bold lines delimit the occurrence of sulphate in the underlying Eocene Rus Formation. The surface expression of the cross-section in figure 19b is marked in the map by the transect AB (Dill et al. 2005).



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 19b: The cross-Section of the A B transect shown in figure 19a

Figure 20: Southern flank of the massif, 1.5 km NNE of the Qarn Abu Wail (Cavelier, 1970) 26


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 21: Eastern flank of Hazm Mishabiyah also known as Hazm Al-Maszhabiya (Cavelier, 1970)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 22a: Litholog of the Miocene Dam Formation and its depositional environments. All depth-related data are given in meters, all dimensions in the litholog are given in centimeters (Dill et al. 2007).http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 22b: (Continued from previous page) 29


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

2F. The Hofuf Formation (Late Miocene to Pliocene)Well-exposed, fine-grained to pebbly coarse-grained fluvial sandstone of Late Miocene to Pliocene age crop out in Southern Qatar. These sandstones belong to the Hofuf Formation, and were deposited largely in paleostream channels along Wadi As-Sahba in eastern Saudi Arabia and Qatar over a distance of 450 kms (Figure 23). The upstream sediments were deposited in a deltaic environment. Wadi As-Sahba's alluvial fan, which extends southeastward, represents the largest of several other nonactive fans in central and south Arabia. It is the existence of this huge former drainage system, which is seen as the fundamental explanation for the occurrence of the Hofuf Formation in Saudi Arabia and comparable gravels elsewhere on the eastern flank of the Arabian Peninsula (e.g., Kuwait and Qatar). The sandstones are derived from Precambrian basement and Phanerozoic rocks, which are mostly represented by granitic rocks in addition to lesser amounts of volcanics, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The sandstones comprise three distinct facies: clast-supported gravel and conglomerate, coarsegrained sandstone, and fine-grained sandstone. The Lower gravely unit of the Hofuf Formation (Figures 24 & 25) is ~20 m thick and consists of at least 8 sedimentary cycles. Each cycle is composed of sandy gravel and conglomerate followed by coarse-grained and fine-grained arkosic sandstone. The gravels and conglomerates are rich in pebbles of various igneous and metamorphic rocks (granite, basalts, gneiss, schist, quartzite and amphibolites) derived from the gold-bearing Arabian shield as well as limestone, dolomite and marl derived from the Phanerozoic.

Figure 23: Major Wadies in Saudi Arabia. Note Wadi As-Sahba which has influenced the deposition of the Hofuf Formation in southern Qatar. Al-Safarjalani (2004).http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East The Hofuf Formation at the type section 15 km NNE of Al-Hofuf town in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (Figure 24) consists dominantly of white to light grey, massive, calcareous (marl) sandstone with intermittent horizons of soft, reddish to yellowish brown marl and clay. The reddish and yellowish brown horizons are often characterized by the presence of trace fossils of plant origin. A thin limestone (up to 2 meters thick) beds cap the sequence. In the State of Qatar, Al-Subaiha area in the southern part of the country represents the best single exposure for the Hofuf rocks. The Hofuf Formation has been considerably eroded and its thickness ranges between 2 and 18 m, which seems to represent only the lower part of the first unit defined in the reference section (Figures 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28)

Figure 24: Hofuf formation at the type section locality in Saudi Arabia. Al-Safarjalani (2004). Unit 1 is the only one present in Qatar Fossil carnivores, proboscideans, rhinoceros, suids, giraffids and especially bovids were found in the Hofuf formation at Al Jadidah in Saudi Arabia but essentially the Hofuf is chiefly unfossiliferous in Qatar although occasional nondiagnostic fresh-water fossils including Lymnaea and Chara occur. Cavelier (1970) reports that the Qurain Balboul (Gurain Al Balhul), NE of Kharrarah, which is topped by a conglomerate with calcareous, locally fossiliferous cement, is the only fossiliferous location encountered in Qatar for the Hofuf Formation.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Figure 26: Mr. Hussain Abdulla A. A. Al-Ansi, Senior Geologist at Qatar Petroleum, pointing at Figure 25: Unit 1 of the Hofuf formation at the cross-bedding within Unit 1 of the Hofuf type locality in Saudi Arabia. This Unit is the Formation. Note also the conglomeratic material only one present in Qatar. Al-Safarjalani just above Mr. Al-Ansi. (2004).

Figures 27 & 28: A quarry operation mining the Hofuf gravel for road construction in Qatar (25 04 04N, 50 49 33.4E). (Photos by the author)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


The Tertiary macrofossils found in QatarRus Formation

As mentioned earlier, diagnostic fossils are not known to occur in the Rus Formation. However, there are some molluscs from the genus or families Corbula, Cardium, Hydrobia, Cerithidae that can be collected for those not too difficult to satisfy or too busy to go to the extent of going places out of the way. The best places for this are in Al Khor and in Fehaiheel. The author has not yet collected shells from the Rus formation; judging it the least interesting formation in Qatar (together with the Hofuf formation) from which to collect specimens. I will make a point, however, to have some specimens for the second edition which should come out in early 2009 Below (Figures 29, 30, 31 & 32), you will find sketches and pictures of the four types of shells (fossils or recent) encountered in the Rus formation. These will be useful for the reader interested in going to the field ahead of the author.

Figure 29: Corbula

Figure 30: Cardium

Figure 31: Hydrobia (recent)

Figure 32: Cerithidae (recent)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

3.2 Dammam Formation 3.2.1 Midra Shale

Fig. 33: Odontaspis tooth the way it was found in the Umm Bab area (Rock pile location)

Fig. 34: The tooth shown in Fig. 33 seen from left to right in mesial, labial and lingual view. (Picture taken by the University of Qatar, Environmental Studies Center)

Fig. 35:. Some teeth found in Jaow Al Hamar. Fig. 36: Some teeth found in various sites in Qatar. (Picture taken as per fig. 34 above) (Picture taken as per fig. 34 above)

Fig. 37: Weathered rostral tooth of a Pristis Fig. 38: Illustration of a modern Pristis fish (or fish (or sawfish). Collected by Cathy Fuselier sawfish). on Sept 21st 2007 in Jaow Al Hamar



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 39: Fossils fishes of the Midra Shale. See Table 2 below (From Casier, 1972) 35


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Table 2: (From Figure 39 above): Unless otherwise mentioned, the above samples were photographed in their natural size _1) Odontospis aff. Winkleri LERICHE. 1905. External face of a anterior tooth _2a & b) Odontospis aff. hopei (Agassiz L. 1844) Lower frontal tooth. a = external face, b = Profil _3) Lamna gafsana White E.I. 1926. Lateral tooth, external face _4) Lamna gafsana White E.I. 1926. Lateral tooth, external face _5) Lamna gafsana White E.I. 1926. Lateral tooth, external face _6) Aprionodon frequens (Dames W. 1883) Side-frontal tooth. External face. Zoom X 2 _7) Galeocerdo (?) sp. Side-frontal tooth. External face. _8) Galeorhinus minor (Agassiz L. 1835) Side tooth. External face. Zoom X 2 _9) Galeocerdo latidens Agassiz L. 1843. Side tooth. External face. 10) Pristis lathami GALEOTTI H. 1837(sawfish). Rostral tooth. Superior face 11) Pristis imhoffi LERICHE M. 1933. Rostral tooth 12) Propristis schweinfurthi DAMES W. 1883. Rostral tooth 13) Pycnodus mokattamensis PRIEM F. 1897. Vomerine tooth. External face. Zoom X 2 14) Pycnodus mokattamensis PRIEM F. 1897. Vomerine tooth. External face. Zoom X 2 15) Pycnodus sp. Splenial tooth. Oral face. Zooom X 2 16) Pycnodus cf. P. toliapicus Agassiz L. 1839. Splenial tooth. Oral face 17) Pycnodus sp. Cf. mokattamensis. PRIEM F. 1897. Oral tooth, interior face 18a & b) Eotrigonodon serratus (GERVAIS P. 1852) aegyptiaca type (PRIEM F. 1908) Oral tooth, a = external face, b = internal face 19) Eotrigonodon serratus (GERVAIS P. 1852) aegyptiaca type (PRIEM F. 1908) Oral tooth (incisive) external face 20) Eotrigonodon sp. (GERVAIS P. 1852) pharyngal tooth seen from the side 21) Sphyraena fajumensis (DAMES W. 1883) anterior tooth 22) Sphyraena fajumensis (DAMES W. 1883) anterior tooth 23) Sphyraena fajumensis (DAMES W. 1883) anterior tooth seen from the side

Figure 40: Pycnodus variabilis teeth still in place on the fishs jaw. Note the different sizes and shape



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 41: Pycnodont teeth

Fig. 42: Pycnodus is an example of a pycnodont fish (Middle Cretaceous to Middle Eocene). He lived in calm reef waters and ate hard-shelled molluscs, corals and sea urchins (Dixon et al. 1988)

Fig. 43:. Ferricrete and oxydized gastropods

Fig. 44: Nummulites (alveolina?)

Fig. 45: Echinoderm (sea-urchin) spines

Fig. 46: Two stingray teeth



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig 47: Part of a Caudal sting of a stingray (Eotrigonodon?) similar to the drawing above. Found by Beatriz LeBlanc on February 8th, 2008 in the Jaleha-Diyab locality

Fig. 48: Echinoderms (Linthia navillei de Loriol). (Roman, 1976). Collected in Al Subaigib (Al Jebaijeb ?) 38


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 49: Dugong vertebrae: Centrum of a cervical vertebra (left) found by the author on Fig. 50: Dugong bone: Distal portion of an anterior September 14th 2007 in Jaow Al Hamar and a rib found by the author in Jaow Al Hamar on August vertebra from the Lumber region found by 31st 2007. (Picture taken as per Fig. 34 above) the author on January 25th 2008 in Wadi Al Heshaimiya .

Fig. 51: Dugong bone: First ever Middle Eocene sirenian bone discovered / identified / reported from the Arabian Peninsula (July 6th Fig. 52: Dugong bone displayed in Fig. 51 shown as 2007 in Qatar) by the author (Wadi Al it was discovered. Heshaimiya). This is a shaft of the 11th, 12th or 13th rib. (Picture taken as per Fig. 34 above).

Fig. 53: Dugong rib found by Beatriz LeBlanc on February 16th, 2008. Note: All bones & vertebrae on this page were identified by Dr. Iyad S. Zalmout from the University of Michihan, USA



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

3.2.2 Dukhan Limestone member

Fig. 54: Ostracods. Stratigraphically at the base Fig. 55: Nautilus (of possible Aturia and/or of the Dukhan Limestone Deltoidonautilus genus)

Fig. 56: Nautilus (Aturia or Deltoidonautilus genus)

Fig. 57: Large gastropods (Left: two Ampullospira. Right: Campanile)

Fig. 58: Bivalve molds (Ostrea)

Fig. 59: Large gastropods 40


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

3.2.3 Umm Bab MemberThis is also a member we are planning to investigate in more details for the second edition in 2009

Fig. 60: A gastropod with flint-like appearance. Fig 61: More gastropods Found at Km 30 on the east side of Sawdaa Natheel road



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

3.2.4 Abarug Member

Fig. 62: Oxydized and non-oxydized corals.

The Fig. 63: Complete echinoderm of probable oxydized corals are hollowed. Ras Abrouq Peninsula echinolampas genus as found. Ras Abrouq Peninsula

Fig. 64: Complete echinoderms (top part) of probable Fig. 65: Complete echinoderms (bottom part) of echinolampas genus. Ras Abrouq Peninsula probable echinolampas genus. Ras Abrouq Peninsula

Fig. 66: Echinoderm (Schizaster africanus de Loriol). Fig. 67: Eupatagus aff. Cranium somaliensis RasRas Abrouq Peninsula (Roman, 1976). Abrouq Peninsula. (Roman 1976)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 68: Echinoderms : Echinolampas perrieri de Loriol (Samples 1-4 & 8-10), and Echinolampas cf. ovalis(Samples 5-7). Ras Abrouq Peninsula. (Roman 1976)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 69:

Echinoderms: Opissaster derasmoi Checchia-Rispoli (Samples 1-6). Ras Abrouq Peninsula. (Roman 1976)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 70:

Echinoderms : Rhabdocidaris cf. zilleti de Loriol (Sample 1). Echinocyamus polymorpha (Samples 2-6). Linthia (Lutetiaster?) cavernosa de Loriol (Samples 18-20). Eupatagus aff. Cranium somaliensis (Samples 21-22). Ras Abrouq Peninsula. (Roman 1976)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 71: Large coral (Ras Abrouq Peninsula)

Fig. 72: Gastropod (Ras Abrouq Peninsula)


Dam Formation

Fig. 73: Bivalves, Gastropds, Echinoderms, Ostracods & Bryozoa from the Dam Formation (Dill et al 2005)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 74: Large Bivalves (4kms east of Abu Samra) Fig. 75: Large Bivalve (4kms east of Abu Samra)

Fig. 76: Bivalves (5kms east of Abu Samra)

Fig. 77: Part of a crabs leg. Exact locationunknown. Collected and photographed by Bastiaan Groeneweg

Fig. 78: Gastropod. (East Sawdaa Natheel road)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East In their 2005 publication, Dill et al stress the following with regards to the fossils within the Dam Formation in Qatar: A) In the Middle Salwa Member "Bonebeds full of shark teeth, locally containing also invertebrate fossil hash..". B) "Only the Al-Nakhsh Member in the Dam Formation contains stromatolites....... size of as much as 2 m in diameter ..." C) Describing the Lithology of the Abu Samrah member they mention "a shell bed marks the boundary between Abu Samra and Al Nakhsh Members" D) Hydrobia......these gastropods appear in great number in the Abu Samrah Member ....." Note: Few attempts were made in 2007 to find the bonebeds described above (refer also to Figures 20, 21, 22a & 22b), however these were unsuccessful. If my 2008 field trips bring me over the Dam Formation again, rest assured that exploring for its shark teeth will be high on my priority list. If any are found they will be an integral part of the next edition. Kier (1972) reports that nine species of echinoids occur in the Dam Formation: Agassizia powersi Kier, new species Brissus latidunensis Clegg Echinodiscus desori Duncan and Sladen Fibularia damensis Kier, new species Moira adamthi Clegg Laganum tumidum Duncan and Sladen Lovenia cf. Lovenia elongata (Gray) Opechinus costatus (d'Archiac and Haime) Schizechinus pentagonus Kier, new species

however, Roman (1976) makes also mention of one more species: Goniocidaris noellingi and Dill et al (2005) talk about Echinocyamus The echinoids from the Dam Formation occur in a quartz grain, marly sandstone containing numerous shell fragments. Geographically, they are part of an echinoid faunal province extending from the west side of the Persian/Arabian Gulf, through southern Iran, southern Pakistan, and northwestern India. None of the species has been reported from anywhere else. There is no evidence that all the species reported from the Dam Formation lived together at the same time. Five of the species are found at the same locality: Echinodiscus desori, Lovenia cf. L. elongata, Moira adamthi, Brissus latidunensis, and Schizaster pentagonus. It is not known for certain, however, that they all came from the same stratigraphic level. Fibularia damensis occurs with Opechinus costatus at one and possibly two localities, and with Agassizia powersi at one locality. The exact stratigraphic position within the Dam Formation is known for only one species, Fibularia damensis, which is reported as occurring 11.8 meters above the base of the Dam at its type section. (Kier 1972)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 79: Echinoderms: Spines from Goniocidaris noellingi NNE of Qarn Abu Wail in Upper Dam(Samples 1-12) Agassizia aff persica NNE of Qarn Abu Wail in Upper Dam (Samples 13-15). Fibularia damensis Kier , Al Nafkah SE in Lower Dam (Samples 17-19). Opechinus costatus Hazm Maszhabiya in Upper Dam (sample 20). (Roman, 1976)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 80: Echinoderms: Opechinus costadus Hazm Maszhabiya in Upper Dam. (Kier, 1972)

Fig. 81: Echinoderms. Agassizia powersi (Samples 1-2). (Kier, 1972)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 82: Foraminifers from the Dam Formation (Dill et al 2005)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


Some fossil localities

All maps are oriented with the North upward. Latitudes & Longitudes come from Google Earth. Refer to Appendix 8b for the meaning of the locality names. Area Latitude Longitude Remarks Midra Shale Localities (also valid for the Dukhan and Umm Bab Members) Excellent. 4x4. Do not go alone South Trainah 24 40 55 51 11 08

Figs. 83 & 84: This is a basin or depression that is also called Rawdat Al Heshaimiya.

Figs. 85 & 86: The Midra occurs on the flanks of the depression and on the slope of some hills within the depression. Note the Dukhan Limestone capping the Midra. Hundreds of teeth were found here. The dugong bone & vertebra in figures 51, 52 & 53 were found here.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Area Latitude Longitude Remarks Good. Requires a hammer Umm Bab 25 12 35 50 48 48 This is the locality of my first shark tooth in Qatar. The Rock pile on the south of the highway also yielded several teeth.

Fig. 87: First tooth and Rock Pile localities

Fig. 88: Hammer indicates the location of my firsttooth

Fig. 89: My first tooth in its natural position

Fig. 90: The author hammering at the Midra while sitting on the Rock pile. The tooth in figures 33 & 34 was found here



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Area Dukhan (two localities) Latitude 25 26 20 25 25 18 Longitude 50 48 04 50 48 18 Remarks Good. Requires a hammer. Easy driving


2 Figs. 91, 92 & 93: Locality 1 is partly natural and bulldozed Midra. Locality 2 involves only bulldozed material Excellent. 4x4 but easy driving Jaleha-Diyab 25 03 48 50 53 10

Figs. 94, 95 & 96: This area is 18.7 kms south of Umm Bab. The whole valley east of the road is potentially rich. Hundreds of teeth were found here. Broken sirenian (dugong) bones were also found 54


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Area Latitude Longitude Remarks 24 39 06 51 09 05.8 Excellent. 4x4. Do not go alone Jaow Al Hamar Go 29Kms south on the Sawdaa Natheel road from Salwa road and then east for about 9-10Kms on unmarked trails. This locality was the subject of a Qatar Natural History Group field trip on November 30th 2007; fifty two (52) vehicles participated

Fig. 97: Jaow Al Hamar from a Fig. 98: View of the Midra Shale outcropping on the flanks of satellite picture (2 kms in length) Jaow Al Hamar

Fig. 99: People collecting teeth

Fig. 100: People collecting teeth. The dugong bone & vertebra displayed in figures 49 and 50 were found here



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Abarug Member (Ras Abrouq Peninsula, West of Qatar)

Fig. 101: Geological & Satellite maps with the only Figs. 102, 103 & 104: The author looking for occurrences of mesas with the Abarug member in echinoderms in the Abarug Member over the Qatar (purple color) Ras Abrouq peninsula



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Dam Formation Area East Abu Samra

Latitude 24 44 17

Longitude 50 53 43

Remarks 4x4. Lots of shells loose at surface

Fig. 105: All the framed area to the right is Fig. 106: Most probably the Middle Al Naksh interesting for its fossil content and general geology. member of Dill et al. 2005 & 2007 The fossils in figures 74, 75 & 76 were all found here

Table 3: Coordinates of some fossil sites kindly given to the author by Dr. Dill (see some of his articles given in reference). The coordinates refer to Figure 107 belowhttp://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Fig. 107: Dam Formation fossil sites (see Table 3 above for point coordinates). Points N, Q and P are on top of Khashm an Nakhsh shown in figure 18



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

5. AcknowledgmentsI wish to thank my wife Beatriz for accompanying me in all my Qatar fossil trips, even through the hottest months of the year, in order to collect all the necessary samples and material to write this document; her eagle eyes allowed for the collection of more than half of the fossils found. I would also like to thank her for all the words of encouragement she has said to see that this guide comes to fruition. Thanks also extended to Mr. Hussain Al-Ansi, Senior Geologist at Qatar Petroleum, for pointing out to me the first shark teeth locality I visited (Umm Bab); his work at reviewing this document prior to publication, and helping me contacting the University of Qatar in order to have the dugong fossil bones photographed and studied. Also, a nice word for our weekend fossil hunting group which we call informally the "Eocene Dental Society" in reference to all the fossil shark teeth that we have found. In that group, I would like to send my warmest thank to Mr. David Smith, Well Technology QA/QC Specialist currently working with Maerks Petroleum in Qatar, who has introduced me to the outback of the country and who has demonstrated a keen interest in the art of fossil hunting. I have benefited considerably from valuable discussions with Dr. Haveluck G. Harrison, Petroleum Engineer and Data Management Specialist at Qatar Petroleum, on the art of document formatting and designing. My thanks to him also for his revision of the current document (www.peteng.com/ ). It is a pleasure also to express my regard to Professor Dr. habil. Harald G. Dill ( www.hgeodill.de ) from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Germany for the Dam Formation fossil localities that he has kindly provided. I am also grateful to Dr. Helene Jousse of the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien Sugetiersammlung) in Vienna, Austria, to Dr. Daryl Domning of Howard University in Washington, D.C and Dr. Iyad S. Zalmout, University of Michigan, for their participation in confirming the first sirenian/dugong remains from the Middle Eocene of the Arabic Peninsula. Dr. Zalmout is also to be thanked for the identification of the bone material and other fossils in this publication. Thank you also to Dr. Mehsin Abdulla Al-Ansi, Director of the Environmental Studies Center at the University of Qatar for allowing to take some professional pictures of the fossils included in this document, and for his involvement in having the University of Qatar approving the funds for a visit to Qatar by Dr. Iyad S. Zalmout of the University of Michigan. Lastly, thank you to Dr. Fadhil Al Sadooni of the Environmental Studies Center at the University of Qatar for coordinating the visit of Dr. Zalmout to the State of Qatar.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

6. ReferencesNote: We do not guarantee that the links given below will always be available

MapsSimplified geological map of Qatar Peninsula modified after UNDP 1978 and Mariam Al-Yousef 2003. Not all structures and sand deposits are shown. http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/QatarSabkhas.htm Centre for the GIS (Urban Planning Development Authority(UPDA), Opposite to City Centre mall): Geology of Qatar (1978): Scale = 1:395,000; Data on Environment Public on Qatar GISNet which is based on the field work by Selhurst Engineering Ltd., 1978 and photogeological interpretation of 1:36,000 scale aerial photographs (1977) by Hunting Geology & Geophysical Ltd. Articles Hamad Al Ahmadi (December 2002). Safe Desert Driving. In: The Oil Drop. (Saudi Aramcos newsletter) Al-Saad Hamad, Mohamed I. Ibrahim (2002): Stratigraphy, micropaleontology, and paleoecology of the Miocene Dam Formation, Qatar. In GeoArabia Vol 7 No. 1 Al-Saad Hamad (August 2005). Lithostratigraphy of the Middle Eocene Dammam Formation in Qatar, Arabian Gulf: effects of sea-level fluctuations along a tidal environment Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Volume 25, Issue 5, Pages 781-789. www.sciencedirect.com Al-Safarjalani, Dr. Abdulrahman Mohieddin (2004). Placer gold deposits in the Hofuf Formation The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. King Faisal University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Soil and Water. Al-Hofuf 2004, Research Project Nr.4022. www.kfu.edu.sa/main/res/4022.pdf BOUKHARY, M. 1985. Paleontological studies of the succession in western Qatar, Arabian Gulf. Rev. Palobiol. 4(2): 183-202 Cagatay, M. Namik (1990). Palygorskite in the Eocene rocks of the Dammam Dome, Saudi Arabia. Clays and Clay Minerals, Vol. 38, No. 3, 299-307 Casier, Edgard (1971) : Sur un materiel ichthyologique des Midra (and Saila) shales du Qatar Golfe Persique. Bull. Inst. R. Sci. Nat. de Belgique Cavelier Claude, Salatt Abdullah, Heuze Yves (1970); Geological description of the Qatar Peninsula (explanation of the 1/100,000 geological maps of Qatar). Bureau de recherches geologiques et minieres, Government of Qatar, Department of Petroleum Affairs. 46 pages et cartes Dill, Harald G.: Sobhi Nasir and Hamad Al-Saad (2003). Lithological and structural evolution of the northern sector of Dukhan anticline, Qatar, during the early Tertiary: with special reference to sequence stratigraphic bounding surfaces GeoArabia Volume 8, Number 2, P 201-226 Dill, H.G. R. Botz, R., Z. Berner, Z., D. Stben, D., Nasir S., and H. Al-Saad, H., (2005). Sedimentary facies, mineralogy, and geochemistry of the sulphate-bearing Miocene Dam Formation in Qatar. Sed. Geology, 174/1-2, 63-96. www.sciencedirect.com Dill, H.G. and Friedhelm Henjes-Kunst (2007): Strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and calcium isotope ratios (44Ca/40Ca-44Ca/42Ca) of the Miocene Dam Formation in Qatar: tools for stratigraphic correlation and environment analysis. GeoArabia, Vol. 12, No. 3 60


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Dixon, Dougal; Cox Barry; Savage R.J.G.; Gardiner, Brian (1988): The MacMillan Illustrated encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and prehistoric animals: a visual who's who of prehistoric life. Gash, Brian (Year unknown). Sharks teeth. Part of a Qatar Natural History Group Field trip Herget Wolgang (1994). Geological field trip to South Qatar. Qatar Natural History. Kier, Porter M. (1972): Tertiary and Mesozoic Echinoids of Saudi Arabia. Smithsonian contributions to paleobiology, No. 10 http://www.sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontributions/Paleobiology/ LeBlanc, Jacques (Nov 30th, 2007). QNHG fossil shark teeth hunting trip to Southern Qatar. Nasir, S , Hamad Al-Saad, Abdul Razak Al-Sayigh , Abdul Rahman Al-Harthy ? (2003). Ferricretes of the Early Tertiary Dammam Formation in the Dukhan Area, Western Qatar: mineralogy, geochemistry and environment of deposition Qatar J. Science, 23, 55-70 Roman, J. 1976. Echinides ocnes et miocnes du Qatar (Golfe Persique). Ann. Paleont. Invertebr., 62, 4985. Sharland Peter R., Casey David M., Davies Roger B., Simmons Michael D., Sutcliffe Owen E. (2004). Arabian Plate Sequence stratigraphy revisions to SP2. GeoArabia Volume 9, No. 1 SUGDEN W. and STANDRING A.J. [1975] - Qatar peninsula. Lexique stratigraphique international - Asie, Paris, vol. III, fasc. 10 b 3, p. 7-88. Welton Bruce J., Farish Roger F. (1993). The Collectors guide to fossil sharks & rays from the Cretaceous of Texas. 223 pages Ziegler, Martin A. (2001). Late Permian to Holocene Paleofacies Evolution of the Arabian Plate and its Hydrocarbon Occurrences. GeoArabia, Vol 6, No. 3 (60 pages)http://www.searchanddiscovery.net/documents/zeigler/index.htm#24%20Middle%20to%20Late%20Eocene

Programs & Websites Al-Murshid: For Qatar Geographic Names. The Centre for GIS, Doha, Qatar Google Earth: http://earth.google.com/intl/en/ GeoNames: http://www.geonames.org/ www.itouchmap.com http://www.gisqatar.org.qa/ExploreEN/ Qatar Sabkha, Salt lakes and other desert environments: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/QatarSabkhas.htm



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

7. Recommended LiteratureNote: I have tried without any success to get my own copies of the publications marked with an asterisk (*). If you come across any of these documents, I would appreciate the information on how to get them or have access to them in some way or another Abu-Zeid Mohamed M. (sept 1984). Stratigraphy, facies and environment of sedimentation of the Eocene rocks in the Fhaihil (Gebel Dukhan) section, Qatar, Arabian Gulf. Revue de Paleobiologie, Vol. 3. No. 2 *Al-Saad, H., Nasir, S., Sadooni, F., Al-Sharhan, A. (2002): Stratigraphy and lithology of the Hofuf Formation in the State of Qatar in relation to the tectonic evolution of the East Arabian Block. N. Jb. Geol. Pal. Abh. 7:426-448 (Schweizerbart, Stuttgart) *Al-Yousef, Mariam (2003). Mineralogy, geochemistry and origin of quaternary sabkhas in the Qatar peninsula, Arabian Gulf; 437 pages. Thesis (Ph. D.) from the University of Southamton. (Available at the Library of the University of Qatar [Call#: 551.9 YOU M]. *Blondeau A. et Cavelier C (1973). Le Tertiaire de la presquile du Qatar (Golfe Arabique). Donnees nouvelles fournies par les grands foraminiferes de lEocene moyen. Bull. Soc. Geol. France, 14 (1972). BOUKHARY, M. & A. S. ALSHARHAN. 1998. A stratigraphic lacuna within the Eocene of Qatar: an example of the interior platform of the Arabian Peninsula. Rev. Palobiol. 17(1): 49-68 *Cavelier C. (1975). Le Tertiaire du Qatar en affleurement. In: Lexique stratigraphique international, 3, 89-120. Qatar Peninsula, Paris, Centre nat. Rech. Scient. Domning Daryl P., Morgan Gary S. (1982). North American Eocene Sea Cows (Mammalia: Sirenia) Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, No. 52. 69 pages. (Freely downloadable at: http://www.sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontributions/Paleobiology/ ) Dupont Carrie and Al Tamimi Adel Ghaith (2002). Shells of the Qatari shores. 176 pages www.qatarseashells.com Gillespie Frances (2006). Discovering Qatar. 148 pages Glennie Kenneth W. (2005). The Desert of Southeast Arabia. GeoArabia Haas Otto & Miller A.K. (1952). Eocene Nautiloids of British Somaliland. In: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Volume 99, Article 5 http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/handle/2246/922 *Hamed A. El-Nakhal (1988). New Observations on the Geological Age of the Dammam Formation in Arabia. Micropaleontology, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 284-285. Harzhauser Mathias (august 2007). Oligocene and Aquatinian gastropod faunas from the Sultanate of Oman and their biogeographic implications for the early western Indo-Pacific. In: Paleontographica.www.nhm-wien.ac.at/Content.Node/forschung/geologie/mitarbeiter/pdfs/Harzhauser_2007_PalaeontographicaOman.pdf

*Hilder Smout, Alan (1954). Lower Tertiary Foraminifera of the Qatar Peninsula. London: British Museum (Natural History), pp. 96 + ix, 15 pls., 44 test-figures. http://www.bl.uk/ *Holail, H.M., Shaaban, M.N. , Sadek, A.M. and Rifai, R.I. 2004. Diagenesis of the Middle Eocene Dammam Sub-Formation, Qatar: Petrographic and isotopic evidence. Accepted for publication in Carbonates & Evaporates. New York. HOUBOLT, J.J.H.C. (1957). Surface sediments of the Persian Gulf near the Qatar Peninsula. Thesis. Mouton, Den Haag, Netherlands,. 1 ed. 120 p. illustr. large 8vo. English. Mougenot Denis. Sand roses: http://perso.orange.fr/brcgranier/gmeop/Mougenot.htmlhttp://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Nasir, S., Kassas, I., and Sadiq, A. (2000): Mineralogy and Genesis of Heavy Minerals in Coastal Dune Sands, South Eastern Qatar. Qatar Univ. Sci. J. 19/1: 223-230 Nasir, S., Al-Saad, H., Sadooni, F. (2003): Chronostratigraphy and geochemical characterization of volcanic rocks from the Hormuz Complex: constraints from the Halul Island, the State of Qatar. N. Jb. Geol. Palaeont. Abh. 230, 49-66 (Schweizerbart, Stuttgart) Nasir, S. (2004): Identification of high quality limestone in Qatar and its industrial uses. J. Industrial Cooperation 95, 20-48 Sadiq Abdulali M. and Sobhi J. Nasir (2002) - Middle Pleistocene karst evolution in the State of Qatar, Arabian Gulf. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 64(2): 132-139. http://www.caves.org/pub/journal/PDF/V64/v64n2-Sadiq.pdf Sadiq A.M and Nasir, S. (2002): Environmental impacts and risks of construction upon the karstic area of the New Doha District, State of Qatar. QUEST January 2002. Sadooni, F., Al-Saad, H., and Nasir, S. (2004): Halul and Sharouh islands, offshore Qatar: remnants of the great Infracambrian Hormuz salt basin. Carbonate and Evaporite 19; 149-149 Sharland Peter R. , Raymond Archer, David M. Casey, Roger B. Davies, Stephen H. Hall, Alan P. Heward, Andrew D. Horbury, and Michael D. Simmons (2001). Arabian Plate Sequence Stratigraphy. GeoArabia Special Publication 2. 372 pages, over 140 illustrations/photographs, nearly 1,000 references. ISBN 9901-03-08-9. http://www.gulfpetrolink.net/sp2/sp2idx.htm Weijermars Ruud (1999). Surface geology, lithostratigraphy and Tertiary growth of the Dammam Dome, Saudi Arabia: a new field guide. Geoarabia, Vol. 4, No. 2 *Whybrow, P.J. (1987) Miocene geology and palaeontology of the United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar (Arabian Gulf): the closure of Tethys and mammal `migrations between Afroarabia and Eurasia. M.Phil Thesis. Reading University, Reading. 136 pp. Whybrow P. J., Hill A. (1999). Fossil vertebrates of Arabia - with emphasis on the Late Miocene faunas, geology and paleoenvironments of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Fossil sharks and rays from the Cretaceous of The Netherlands http://home.zonnet.nl/jbastiaansen/maastr_sharks.html Elasmo: http://www.elasmo.com/frameMe.html?file=genera/cenozoic/batoids/pristid.html&menu=bin/menu _genera-alt.html Neoselachii Hypnosqualea: http://www.palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Units/080Neoselachii/080.700.html Les faluns de Touraine (Geology in Touraine) : http://pagespersoorange.fr/bernard.langellier/faluns/falunswf.htm Poissons osseux des Faluns de Touraine : http://vertebresfossiles.free.fr/touraine/poissons.htm Isurus : http://www.paleomania.com/photo-168403-isurus-desori-2_jpg.html Mesozoic Fishes Page: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/wilson.hp/mesofish/ A brief geographical and geological background of Qatar: http://www.catnaps.org/islamic/geography.html Glossary of Arabic Word : http://www.catnaps.org/islamic/glossary.html#sabkha Qatar Geological Society (QGS): http://qgeosoc.com/ Qatar Natural History Group (QNHG): http://www.qatarvisitor.com/index.php?cID=430&pID=1229




A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

8) Appendices8a: Definitions/GlossaryWord Anhydrite Anterior AP boundary Definition An evaporite mineral composed of calcium sulphate, CaSO4, found in some sedimentary rocks. Often derived from gypsum by losing its water of crystallisation. Situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to posterior). Arabian Plate Boundary: The 11 Arabian Plate (AP) tectono-stratigraphic megasequences (TMS) are plate-wide unconformity surfaces that record major changes in accommodation space, resulting from plate-scale tectonic events Bivalves are molluscs belonging to the class Bivalvia. They typically have twopart shells, with both valves being symmetrical along the hinge line. The class has 30,000 species, including scallops, clams, oysters and mussels. Other names for the class include Bivalva, Pelecypoda, and Lamellibranchia. Bivalves are exclusively aquatic; they include both marine and freshwater forms. However some, for instance the mussels, can survive out of water for short periods by closing their valves. (source www.wikipedia.org )




A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Bryozoans are tiny colonial animals that generally build stony skeletons of calcium carbonate, superficially similar to coral. They are also known as moss animals (which is the literal Greek translation) or sea mats. They generally prefer warm, tropical waters but are known to occur worldwide. There are about 5,000 living species, with several times that number of fossil forms known. Hard, carbonate-rich, cemented layer commonly associated with an ancient soil horizon and associated water table. Near the tail or the posterior end of the body Colloquial names given to rosette formations of the minerals gypsum and barite with poikilotopic sand inclusions. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin. Gypsum roses usually have better defined, sharper edges than barite roses. The desert rose may also be known by the names: sand rose, rose rock, selenite rose, gypsum rose, gypsum rosette and barite rose. An unconformity between parallel layers of sedimentary rocks which represents a period of erosion or non-deposition A small hill The dugong (Dugong dugon) is a large marine mammal which, together with the manatees, is one of four living species of the order Sirenia. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest modern relative, Steller's Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was hunted to extinction in the 18th century. It is also the only sirenian in its range, which spans the waters of at least 37 countries throughout the Indo-Pacific, though the majority of dugongs live in the northern waters of Australia between Shark Bay and Moreton Bay. In addition, the dugong is the only strictly-marine herbivorous mammal, as all species of manatee utilize fresh water to some degree. Like all modern sirenians, the dugong has a fusiform body with no dorsal fin or hindlimbs, instead possessing paddle-like forelimbs used to maneuver itself. It is easily distinguished from the manatees by its fluked, dolphin-like tail, but also possesses a unique skull and teeth. The dugong is heavily dependent on seagrasses for subsistence and is thus restricted to the coastal habitats where they grow, with the largest dugong concentrations typically occurring in wide, shallow, protected areas such as bays, mangrove channels and the lee sides of large inshore islands. Its snout is sharply downturned, an adaptation for grazing and uprooting benthic seagrasses. The IUCN lists the dugong as a species vulnerable to extinction (source www.wikipedia.org )


Calcrete Caudal

Desert rose Sand rose

Disconformity Djebel or Gebel




A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Evaporites Facies

Those minerals, most commonly anhydrite, gypsum and halite, that are typically formed in areas where evaporation is much more important than precipitation; i.e. in deserts. An association of mappable sediment types or fossil assemblages that gives the sequence a distinctive depositional, environmental or climatic character. The gastropods, also previously known as gasteropods, or univalves, and more commonly known as snails and slugs, are the largest and most successful class of mollusks, with 60,000-75,000 known living species. This class of animals is second only to insects in its number of known species. The class Gastropoda is striking in its extraordinary diversification of habitats, with representatives living in gardens, in woodland, in deserts, and on mountains; in small ditches, great rivers and lakes; in estuaries, mudflats, the rocky intertidal, the sandy subtidal, in the abyssal depths of the oceans, and countless other ecological niches, including parasitic ones. This class includes very large numbers of species of marine snails and sea slugs, as well as freshwater snails and limpets, and the terrestrial (land) snails and slugs. Although the word "snail" can be, and often is, applied to all the members of this class, very commonly the word is restricted to those species which have an external shell. Those without a shell, or with only a very reduced or internal shell, are often known as slugs. (source www.wikipedia.org )




A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Incisive Lumber vertebrae Macro fossils Mesa(s)



Suitable for cutting or piercing Vertebrae of the abdominal to which are attached the muscles of the back The word macro means everything that can be seen with the naked eye. Opposite of Micro which requires a lens or microscope to be seen. A mesa is a flat-topped plateau bounded on at least three sides by steep, commonly cliffed slopes. The bedding is normally horizontal. Maximum Flooding Surface: Sequence stratigraphy is a relatively new branch of geology that attempts to link prehistoric relative sea-level changes to sedimentary deposits. The essence of the method is mapping of strata based on identification of time lines (e.g. subaerial unconformities, maximum flooding surfaces), and therefore placing stratigraphy in chronostratigraphic framework. Sequence stratigraphy is proving a much better alternative to a lithostratigraphic approach, which emphasized similarity of aspect of rocks rather than time significance. The 'sequence' part of the name refers to cyclic sedimentary deposits. The term 'stratigraphy' refers to the geologic knowledge about the processes by which sedimentary deposits form and how those deposits change through time and space on the Earth's surface. A group of marine mollusks which possess an external shell, the most well known example being the modern chambered nautilus. They are a related group of cephalopods, distinguished from the ammonoids by the fact that the septa separating each chamber had a simple form, rather than being convoluted/coiled as in the ammonites. While nearly all nautiloids show gently curving sutures, the ammonoid suture line (the intersection of the septum with the outer shell) was folded, forming saddles (or peaks) and lobes (or valleys). Nautiloids also had external shells, and although their species once numbered over 100, there are only five or six living species left, all within the Nautilus and Allonautilus genera. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautiloid 67


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East A nummulite is a large lenticular fossil, recognized by its numerous coils, subdivided by incomplete septae into squarish chambers. They are the shells of the extinct marine protozoan Nummulites, a type of foraminiferan. Nummulites reach 6 cm in diameter, and are common in Tertiary rocks. They are valuable as index fossils. The name "Nummulites" is a diminutive form of the Latin nummulus meaning "little coin", a reference to their shape. See http://paleopolis.rediris.es/cg/CG2006_M02/ for more details on Nummulites and Alveolina, and download a good illustrated guide at http://paleopolis.rediris.es/cg/CG2006_M02/CG2006_M02_4.pdf Ostracoda is a class of the Crustacea, sometimes known as the seed shrimp because of their appearance. Some 65,000 extinct and extant species (13,000 of which are extant) have been identified and grouped into several orders. Ostracods are small crustaceans, typically around one mm in size, but varying between 0.2 to 30 mm, laterally compressed and protected by a bivalve-like, chitinous or calcareous valve or "shell". The hinge of the two valves is in the upper, dorsal region of the body. Ecologically, marine ostracods can be part of the zooplankton or (most commonly) they are part of the benthos, living on or inside the upper layer of the sea floor. Many ostracods are also found in fresh water and some are known from humid continental forest soils. http://w3.gre.ac.uk/schools/nri/earth/ostracod/introduction.htm (also known as attapulgite) is a magnesium aluminium phyllosilicate with formula (Mg,Al)2Si4O10(OH)4(H2O) which occurs in a type of clay soil Pertaining to, or situated near the pharynx A beaklike or snoutlike projection. A flat area of clay, silt or sand, commonly with crusts of salt. Subdivided into: (1) Coastal sabkha: A coastal flat at or just above the level of normal high tide. Its sediments consist of sand, silt or clay and its surface is often covered with a salt crust formed by the evaporation of water drawn to the surface by capillary action or from occasional marine inundations. The coastal sabkha is characterised by the presence of algal mats and the occurrence of gypsum and anhydrite within its sediment. It is subject to deflation down to the water table. (2) Inland sabkha: A flat area of clay, silt or sand, commonly with saline encrustations, that is typical of desert areas of inland drainage, and in some interdune areas. Their salts may be formed by evaporation of surface water, or of water drawn to the surface from the water table by capillary action; commonly underlain by gypsum and may be overlain by small sand dunes. Either of two muscles of the back of the neck, extending from the upper vertebrae to the base of the skull, that rotate and extend the head and neck. A branch of geology which studies rock layers and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigraphy includes two related subfields: lithologic or lithostratigraphy and biologic stratigraphy or biostratigraphy. 68



Palygorskite Pharyngeal (adj = pharyngal) Rostrum (adj. = rostral)


Splenius (adj. = splenial) Stratigraphy


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East A laminated calcareous microbial structure that is typical of tropical shallowmarine coasts Buried erosion surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous Pebble or rock with at least one surface facetted by wind-driven sand or dust. A thin flat bone forming the inferior and posterior part of the nasal septum and dividing the nostrils in most vertebrates. A desert watercourse, dry except after rain. Plural: widyan.

Stromatolite Unconformity Ventifact Vomer (adj. = Vomerine) Wadi

8b: Names, coordinates and meaning of the localities mentioned in the text. Names &Meaning are from Al Murshid. Latitudes and Longitudes are from Google Earth Name & Coord. Meaning The Arabic word 'abu' means "father" in English. Here in Qatar, the word is used to refer to an "area with specific qualities or features". The other constituent of the name is the word 'Samra' a local name for a shrub very common in Qatar. The area consists of a border post situated near a well which separates the Southern part of the region from the Saudi borders. The geographic name of the area is derived from the one and only tree in the region. Hence, was termed Abu Samra or literally "Father of the Samr trees" in English. The Latin name of the plant is Acacia Tortilis hayne, a shrub or small tree reaching 6-8 m in height, branching from its base and umbrella shaped with a flat shaped crown. The young branches are reddish, pubescent, while the stipules are white, long and straight and partly small, recurved and dark-tipped. Flowering takes place in the Months of May to June, producing pale-yellow to whitish flowers growing on heads. The shrub grows very commonly in Qatar in the southern depressions in the country, exhibiting stunted growth on elevations. It is also considered a suitable fodder for camels. (As per Casier locality) The Arabic word "jebaijeb" is the diminutive of the word "jeb" a word referring to "a particular kind of water source" (well). The locals referred to this area as Jebaijeb because a particular well carrying the same name existed in the region.

Abu Samra 24 44 44 50 50 48

Al Jebaijeb (Jubayjib, Subaigib, Al Jubaigib, Al Jubeigib) 25 13 11 50 51 43 Al Khor 25 40 52.8 51 29 50.5 Al Subaiha Sebaiha, Subayhah 25 01 3.1 51 00 05

The authoritative Arabic language dictionary 'Lisan Al Arab' defines the Arabic 'khor' as "an indentation of a shoreline between two headlands or a bay". As the term refers to a bay and the city is situated near one, the geographic name Al Khor (formerly Khor Al Shaqiq) was derived. The most commonly known bays in Qatar are Al Khor and Khor Al Edaid. The Arabic word 'sebaiha' is the diminutive form of the word 'suboh'; meaning "morning" in English. The symbolic meaning represented in the geographic name of this rawda refers to "brightness". The area consists of a range of small white hills, because of the bright silhouette of the hills against the rest of the rawda provided it with the name Sebaiha.http://leblanc.jacques.googlepages.com/fossilhome


A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Al Nafkah 24 52 39.9 50 58 32.9 Doha 25 16 47 51 31 42 Dukhan 25 25 09 50 47 09 Fehaiheel (also written Fhahahil, Fhaihil & Fahahil) 25 16 12.1 50 48 4.9 Hazm AlMaszhabiya 24 47 8.7 50 53 24.5 Jaow Al Hamar (Eastern Sawdaa Natheel basin) 24 39 06N 51 09 05.8E Khashm Al Nakhsh 24 52 23.1 50 54 16.1 The Arabic word 'nafkha' means "height" or refers to "high elevations" in English.

The Arabic word 'doha' literally means "roundness". Here, in Qatar the word is used to refer to the "rounded bays" that characterize most of Qatar's coastline. The area derives its geographic name from this very feature. Hence, it was termed Al Doha. The Arabic word "Dukhan" means "smoke" in English. The area, a city derives its geographic name from its dust-laden clouds which resemble smoke from afar. Therefore, the region became known as Dukhan. The Arabic word "Fehaiheel" is the local name of an "unproductive or barren palm tree". The area consists of a large number of these trees that exist in the region and was hence termed Fehaiheel. The region consists of a well which derives its geographic name from the so called feature in the region. Now a Petrol Plant exists in the region. The Arabic word 'hazm' refers to an "elevated area surrounding lower elevations or low lands". The geographic name of the area is derived from the fact that a large hill exists in the region and in close proximity to a rawda known as 'Maszhabiya'. Hence, was termed Hazm Al Maszhabiya. The Arabic word 'jaow' is the local term used to refer to an "elongated depression". These depressions are common in Qatar and are formed as a result of erosion of the surface ground layer of the limestone layer that constitutes a major part of Qatar's soil structure. A variety of plants grow in these depressions and were therefore considered good feeding grounds for animals. The other constituent of the name is the word 'hamar'; a term referring to the colour "red". The area consists of a depression whose red-coloured sand provides the area with its geographic name Jaow Al Hamar. The Arabic word "khasm" refers to a "nose" in English while the other constituent of the name is the word "Nakhsh" the local name of a "hill". The entire region derives its geographic name from the peculiar shape of the protruding hill, which resembles the shape of a nose. Hence, was termed Khashm Al Nakhsh.

Qarn Abu Wail N 24 40' 21" E 50 51' 38" Elevation: 57 m

Hill officially recognized since 2003 as one of the points along the Saudi Arabia and Qatar border



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East "Qurain" comes from the word "Qarn" which refers to a number of flat-shaped hills found in Qatar. There are several "Qarn" in Qatar, the most famous being "Abu Wail", "Al Ashaireq", "Umm Qarn" and Qurayn Balboul. Every "Qarn" has its own peculiar characteristic, however Qurayn Balboul is characterized by its unique shape. At present, the hill is used as a survey point. According to the citizens, the shape of the hill looks like "A Balboul" which is an old, popular toy known in Qatar. The toy is oval shaped and made of wood with an iron pointed head. The name is derived from the toy's name, because of the similarity between its shape and the hill's flat top. The Arabic word "Ras" refers to a "cape or headland stretching into the sea" while the word "Abrouq" is the name of an area dominated by whitish hills. It is from the close proximity of this cape to Abrouq that the name Ras Abrouq was derived. The Arabic word 'rawda' refers to "a fertile area situated on a depression receiving plenty of run-off water and water-borne sediments. The area is usually rich in vegetation and may be used for grazing". The other constituent of the name is the word 'heshaimiya'; a diminutive form of the word 'hasham' which is a term refers to a "ragged-edged area of land". The area, a rawda, derives its geographic name from a vast depression with a ragged-edge. Hence, was termed Rawdat Al Heshaimiya. The words 'Sawdaa Natheel' is made up of two components, that is to say, the words 'sawdaa' meaning "black" and "natheel" a term used to refer to the "soil deposits that precipitated at the bottom of the water obtained from the well". This area derives its geographic name from the black precipitates obtained from the well. The area consists of a border post situated near a well that separates the southern part of the region from the Saudi borders. The geographic name of the region is derived from the area's close proximity to a well spring known as 'Sawda Natheel'. Hence, was termed Markaz Sawdaa Natheel. This village consists of a farm which was named after a woman named Tarina who died there.

Qurain Balboul 24 57 19.8 51 13 37.2

Ras Abrouq 25 39 05.6 50 50 51.4 Rawdat Al Heshaimiya (South of Trainah) 24 40 55 51 11 08

Sawdaa Natheel 24 34 06 51 04 06

Traina or Trainha 24 45 26 51 12 37 Umm Bab 25 12 39 50 48 20

Umm Slal Ali 25 28 19.7 51 23 52.4

The Arabic word 'Umm' means "mother" in English. Here the term is used to refer to an area with "particular features or qualities". The other constituent of the name is the word 'Bab' which literally means "door or gateway" in English. The area consists of an opening or a path situated between two small hills. Hence resembling a door or an exit between the two hills and providing the area with its geographic name, Umm Bab. The Arabic word 'umm' means "mother" in English while the word 'slal' refers to "large boulders or rocks". The literal translation of the two words in combination would be "mother of rocks" in English. The area, used to be a rawda where several large rocks existed. The area consisted of several farms owned by Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim and was therefore termed Umm Slal Ali in honour of the Sheikh who owned a large sector of the region. Hence, was termed Umm Slal Ali.



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East The Arabic word 'wadi' refers to a "valley". A full-fledged definition for the word 'wadi' would be a "steep-sided rocky ravine in a desert or semi-desert area, usually streamlines containing a torrent for a short-time". The other constituent of the name is the word 'heshaimiya'; a term referring to a rawda, deriving its name from the dried out fallen branches and twigs on the ground. The geographic name of this wadi is derived from the fact that it ends its course of flow in a rawda called Rawdat Al Heshaimiya. During the rainy season, torrents of water flow into this other region and remain there for long periods of time. Hence, was termed Wadi Al Heshaimiya. The Arabic word "Zekreet" is a derivative of the word "Zikra" which literally means "Memories" in English. The term is used to refer to a rawda that has some kind of sentimental bearing on the locals, hence the area was termed Zekreet. A village referred to by the same name as the rawda, exists in the region.

Wadi Al Heshaimiya (South Trainah) 24 40 55 51 11 08 Zekreet 25 29 08 50 50 51



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

8c Visual identification key to some fossil shark teeth (Welton, 1993)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

8d Teeth orientation and series-row terminology (Welton, 1993)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

8e Some sharks and other fishes of the Midra Shale (Gash, year unknown)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East





















A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

8f (continued)

SPECIMEN SHEET (Page 2 of 2)

Include photo or sketch here

Photo/Sketch for Record ID#: Date: Taken By: HazardTraffic Loose Rock River Cliffs Wildlife Other


Road / Land condition:




A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East


SAFE DESERT DRIVING(modified from Al Ahmadi, 2002)

Become aware of basic safety procedure that pertains to culture, climate, travel and wildlife. When travelling off-road in Qatar, make sure the vehicle is in good mechanical conditions, that you have adequate tools for minor repairs and that someone who stays behind in the city knows your route, destination and itinerary. Always bring a mobile with you since the mobile network can be accessed.from most locations within the country For short or long term desert trips, we recommend you bring the following material and equipment: Mobile phone Compass/GPS All trips Sun and safety glasses Cooler Day trips Over night trips Vehicle Portable Gazebo Tent Cots Full fuel tank Spare tire(s) in good condition First aid kit Sanitary paper Sun block cream Thermos Bottles Blanket Sleeping bags Pillows Pots/Pans Utensils Shovel Air compressor A jack with al normal Flat tire changing equipment Foam bed Canteens Repair kit Rope and Strings Lots of water Plastic bags and other containers Umbrella Food Trash bags Folding chairs

Our group under a gazebo

Beyond repair



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Survival Procedure There are so many circumstances under which survival procedure may have to be instituted, but the most predictable one is when an individual (or more) becomes stranded due to being lost; vehicle breaking down, gotten stuck, or has run out of fuel. In order to minimize these circumstances few cardinal rules should be followed at all times: 1) NEVER drive to the desert alone. Always be part of a group of at least two vehicles; 2) ALWAYS go to the desert with a full fuel tank. Nonetheless, if you do find yourself in this situation follow the survival procedure steps below: 1) If you are lost, stop immediately and either drive back until you recognize your surrounding or drive to the closest asphalt road. Parking on high ground makes the vehicle visible. 2) If your vehicle is stuck or broken down, remain calm, inform your town contact with your mobile, assemble and prepare signals and take precautions against sun, heat, wind and cold. 3) Keep in mind the following: REMAIN CALM AND DO NOT PANIC. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES

The vehicle is so hot that we need to use a towel to push it

The climate is harsh on everyone and everything in Qatar, as noted with this dead camel

Driving Conditions Recommendations 1) Never drive without a valid Qatar driver license. 2) Have your identification cards with you all the times. 3) Practice defensive driving. Driving conditions are variable and some may be new to you . Some of these are listed below: Paved Roads Be aware of all traffic signs and drive at the posted speed limit (if your vehicle is equipped with sand tires, then your maximum speed limit is 70 km/hour.). Make sure that your vehicles tires are properly inflated. The heat build up on asphalt roads is very dangerous. Beware of camels, sheeps and wildlife crossing the road



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East

Camels on roads & trails

Crossing of Reintroduced wildlife

Sand Storms Always proceed slowly in sandstorm situations If a sandstorm is in progress in front of you, then turn your vehicles headlights and wait until the storm disappear Sand & Sand dunes When proceeding down a slip face, make sure you are at right angle to the lip of the dune. Stay in low gear when going down a dune and maintain some power on the wheels to keep the vehicle from sliding sideways. Make your own track and DO NOT follow the vehicle in front of you. Stay away from blow holes unless you know a way out. Choose the best and suitable gear for each sand Once the wheels start to spin and dig in, DO NOT continue or else you will dig the vehicle deeper Try to avoid shifting gears when traveling in deep sand In deep sand, deflate the vehicles tires to a suitable pressure Drive along the dune crest if possible or along the windward side of the dune where the sand is normally harder (unless of course you just want to have fun, as in the pictures below)



A Fossil Hunting Guide To the Tertiary Formations of Qatar, Middle East Rough Terrain Following are some recommendations that may reduce wear on mechanical parts as well as ensure your safety: In rocky areas, drive in 4WD on a gear that will put least strain on mechanical parts. Always proceed slowly and cautiously. When going up steep rocky area, always use 4WD. It will save springs and shocks and will put less strain on engine. When descending steep rocky area, use low range 4WD. This will help you maintain control of your vehicle and saves breaks. Sabkhas Some Sabkhas can be driven on year long around, while others vary according to rainfall. It is good not to drive on Sabkhas at all unless its a must. The following precautions should be taken when driving in and around Sabkhas: Look for any track that may have been used by others If none are available, check the Sabkha by foot and by digging a hole with a shovel in order to see how thick the crust is Try to avoid crossing Sabkhas alone if no tracks exist Have the following equipment with you whenever you expect a Sabkha crossing: Rope, Chain, Jack, Shovel, Mats, Soft used tire

Sabkha from top of a sand dune

Driving on a dry sabkha

Vehicle tracks on a wet sabkha

Have many Safe & Enjoyable fossil hunting trips in Qatar




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