Mineralogy and Genesis of Heavy Minerals in Coastal Dune Sands, South Eastern Qatar
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Large amounts of aeolian sand occur in the southeastern coastal zone of Qatar Peninsula as sand dunes accumulated in a vast sand field locally called " Niqyan Qatar ". The present work, carried out on a sand dune belt of this field near Mesaied Industrial City, revealed the distribution of heavy minerals shows a regional variability induced by provenance and local variability reflecting genetic differences. The studied dune sands are rich in shells of pelecypods, with the light mineral assemblage including quartz, feldspar, calcite, gypsum and halite. On the other hand, the heavy minerals are found to consist of two mineral assemblages : (a) stable mineral assemblage, which includes zircon, tourmaline and rutile and (b) unstable heavy mineral assemblage, which includes garnet, epidote, pyroxene, amphibole and A12Si05-polymorphs. Some of these minerals originate in igneous rocks, others originate in metamorphic rocks, while some minerals can be formed in both types of rocks. The aeolian sands forming the studied dunes have transported by the prevailing norhtwesterly Al-Shamal wind crossing the Arabian landmass. During periods of low sea level relative to the present, when the Gulf of Salwa was dry land. Further sands result from erosion and abrasion of the Tertiary rocks exposed on the Surface of Qatar by the still prevailing northwesterly wind toward the southeastern part of the country. These are believed to represent the most important sources of the heavy minerals in these dune sands.