• Aptian;
  • Barremian;
  • carbonate shoals;
  • Kharaib Formation;
  • parasequences;
  • scours;
  • storm processes;
  • Tethyan platform;
  • tidal flats


This study, based in the Haushi-Huqf area of central east Oman, aims to characterize the controls on facies distribution and geometries of some of the best preserved examples of Lower Cretaceous tidal flat facies within the Tethyan epeiric platform. Field, petrographic and geochemical data were acquired from the Barremian–Aptian Jurf and Qishn formations that crop out in a 500 × 1000 m2 butte, thus allowing for pseudo three-dimensional quantitative data acquisition of the dimensions and spatial distributions of discontinuity surfaces and sedimentary bodies. The interpretation presented here suggests that the main processes impacting sedimentation in the Lower Cretaceous peritidal environment of the Haushi-Huqf were transport and erosion processes related to storm waves and currents. The vertical evolution of the carbonate system is organized into six types of metre-scale depositional sequences, from subtidal dominated sequences to supratidal-capped sequences, which are bounded by regional discontinuity surfaces. At subaerial exposure and submarine erosion surfaces associated with a base level shift, sedimentary horizons along the entire depositional profile are cut by scours possibly created by storm events. Chemostratigraphy allows correlation between the Haushi-Huqf and the age-equivalent sections logged in the interior of the platform in Oman. The correlation suggests that the change from subtidal to intertidal depositional sequences during the late highstand is coeval with the development of rudist dominated shoals on the shelf. This study is the first to discuss the controls on Lower Cretaceous peritidal carbonate cyclicity of the Arabian epeiric platform. The results presented here also offer a unique quantitative dataset of the distribution and dimensions of peritidal carbonate shoals and storm scours in a regional sequence stratigraphic context.