Constraining the Uplift History of the Al Hajar Mountains, Oman

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University

Abstract: Mountain building is the result of large compressional forces in the Earth’s crust where two tectonic plates collide. This is why mountains only form at plate boundaries, of which the Al Hajar Mountains in Oman and the United Arab Emirates is thought to be an example of. These mountains have formed near the Arabian–Eurasian convergent plate boundary where continental collision began by 30 Ma at the earliest. However, the time at which the Al Hajar Mountains developed is less well constrained. Therefore, the timing of both the growth of the mountains, and the Arabian–Eurasian collision, needs to be understood first to be able to identify a correlation. Following this a causal link can be determined. Here we show, using apatite fission track and apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He dating, as well as stratigraphic constraints, that the Al Hajar Mountains were uplifted from 45 Ma to 15 Ma. We found that the mountains developed 33 Myr to 10 Myr earlier than the Arabian–Eurasian plate collision. Furthermore, the plate collision is ongoing, but the Al Hajar Mountains are tectonically quiescent. Our results indicate that the uplift of the Al Hajar Mountains cannot be correlated in time to the Arabian–Eurasian collision. Therefore the Al Hajar Mountains are not the result of this converging plate boundary.