Alkaline Rocks and Carbonatites of the World

Setup during HiTech AlkCarb: an online database of alkaline rock and carbonatite occurrences

El Kahfa (Gabal/Gebel El Kahfa)


Occurrence number: 
Longitude: 34.65, Latitude: 24.13

The complex, 4 km in diameter, forms a horseshoe-shaped ridge up to 500 m elevation open to the south, the opening being partly blocked by a circular peak. It comprises an outer ring of syenites and quartz syenites which dip steeply outwards, but with a faulted inward-dipping inner contact against an inner ring of highly cataclastic quartz syenites and gabbroic rocks. The central stock, which is surrounded by wadi alluvium, is predominantly of essexitic gabbros. Relics of a volcanic cone in the form of trachybasaltic flows and pyroclastic rocks are preserved on the eastern side. These rocks are cut by small bodies of alkaline and nepheline syenite and numerous and varied dykes. The so-called essexites consist of andesine-labradorite which is partly replaced by albite-oligoclase and orthoclase, biotite, barkevikite replaced by sodic amphibole, titanaugite partly replaced by aegirine, opaques, apatite and sometimes analcime; altered nepheline occurs in some leucocratic varieties. The alkaline syenites of the outer ring are leucocratic rocks of perthite, aegirine-augite and biotite. Varieties of syenite in the central stock that contain a little nepheline and cancrinite are called umptekites by El Ramly et al. (1969). Dykes include solvsbergite and grorudite, which cut mainly the inner and outer rings, and essexite, diabase, tinguaite and nepheline syenite porphyry, which are very numerous in the central stock; all these dyke types are found in the country rocks. Modes and chemical analyses of a range of rocks will be found in El Ramly et al. (1969), and U and Th data for 10 samples in El Reedy (1985). M.S. Garson (unpublished report) indicates that there are carbonate veinlets of probable carbonatitic origin at El Kahfa.

K-Ar age determinations on eight rocks ranged from 88±2 Ma to 93±2Ma (Serencsits et al., 1979), and a Rb-Sr isochron on five syenites 81.4±7 Ma (Hashad and El Reedy, 1979).
EL RAMLY, M.F., BUDANOV, V.I., ARMANIOUS, L.K. and DERENIUK, N.E. 1969b. The three ring complexes of Gabal El Kahfa, Gabal Nigrub El Fogani and Gabal El Naga (South Eastern Desert of Egypt). Geological Survey of Egypt, Paper, 52: 1-39.EL RAMLY, M.F., BUDANOV, V.I. and HUSSEIN, A.A.A. 1971. The alkaline rocks of south-eastern Egypt. Geological Survey of Egypt, Paper, 53: 1-111.EL REEDY, M.W. 1985. Preliminary investigation on the distribution of uranium and thorium in some alkaline rocks of south eastern desert, Egypt. Annals of the Geological Survey of Egypt, 15: 115-21.HASHAD, A.H. and EL REEDY, M.W.M. 1979. Geochronology of the anorogenic alkalic rocks, South Eastern desert, Egypt. Annals of the Geological Survey of Egypt, 9: 81-101.SERENCSITS, C.M., FAUL, H., FOLAND, K.A., EL RAMLY, M.F. and HUSSEIN, A.A. 1979. Alkaline ring complexes in Egypt: their ages and relationship to tectonic development of the Red Sea. Annals of the Geological Survey of Egypt, 9: 102-16.
Fig. 3_51 El Kahfa (after El Ramly et al., 1969b, Plate 2).
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