Paleoredox and Environmental Conditions of Southern Neo-Tethys Deposits in South Iraq (Yamama Formation) by Geochemical Indicators
A geochemical and environmental study was carried out for the sediments of the Southern Neo-Tethys Ocean, represented by the Yamama Formation (Berriasian-Valaganian) in southern Iraq. The formation has a particular reservoir importance. The typical WQ-220 and WQ-280 wells were selected from the West Qurna field. Data of Gamma-ray logs were used for 30 depths of the typical well. Ten core samples were analyzed by X-Ray Fluoresces and total organic matter from both wells. The results showed that shaliness was relatively low, with an average of 16.5%, leading to a decrease in the presence of clay minerals and trace elements because the environment of the Yamama Formation is relatively far away from the coast. Qualitative evaluation of clay minerals was carried out by thorium/potassium ratio, which showed the dominance of illite and smectite. This may be due to an increase in the salinity of the ocean at that time or because potassium bonds are strong enough to resist the diagenesis processes. The origin of shale in the Yamama Formation was studied using the relationship TiO2-MgO+Fe2O3; the sources were passive margin group, oceanic island arc and active continental margin. The redox potential of paleoenvironment was determined by the thorium/uranium ratio, which showed that the beginning of depositional environment was slightly oxidized, but with the increase of sedimentation, it turned into a reduced environment, which indicates a transgression phase of sea level. The results of euxinic affinity, based on the relationship between molybdenum and Total Organic Carbon (TOC), reflect dyoxic facies which is deposited in extremely low but non-zero oxygen content, while the upper was approaching anoxic facies zone. The paleoenvironment of the Yamama Formation was of restricted deep marine water (outer shelf - upper part of the benthic zone) which contained a marine transgression phase because of the opening of Southern Neo-Tethys Ocean in the Valanginian age.