Khurmala Formation (Late Paleocene-Early Eocene) in Halabja area, Kurdistan Region, Iraq


  • Hyam Saleh Daoud Irrigation Department, College of Engineering, University of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Author



Khurmala Formation, Paleocene-Eocene, Microfacies, Dolomitization


The studied section of Khurmala Formation (Late Paleocene-Early Eocene) is located in the Nawar Mountains on the northern part of the entrance of Sirwan River in Darbandikhan Lake. The section is mostly composed of dolomitic limestone, with occasional occurrence of sparsely fossiliferous limestone which are white, light grey and yellowish grey in color. The thickness of this section is almost 73 m and a total of 52 samples were collected at intervals of 0.5-3.0 m according to the lithological changes. Fifty-two thin sections were prepared and analyzed under a binocular microscope. The microfacies distinguished are Boundstone with corals, Bindstone with coralline red algae and corals, Bioclastic grainstone, Bioclastic oolitic grainstone, Bioclastic packstone, and Wackestone. These facies were interpreted to be deposited mainly in the shoal and lagoon of inner ramp environment. Although the studied section is not rich in fossils and most of them were destroyed by diagenesis processes, the following have been identified: Spongites sp., Cymopolia ellongata, Mesophyllum sp., Sporolithon sp., Idalina sinjarica, Quinqueloculina, Cymopolia sp. and Spongites cf. albanensis Lemoine.


Bellen, R.C.van, Dunnington, H.V., Wetzel, R. and Morton, D. "Lexique Stratigraphique, International": Asia, Iraq, Vol. 3c. 10a, pp. 333. (1959).

Ditmar, V. and Iraqi-Soviet Team "Geological conditions and hydrocarbon prospects of the Republic of Iraq (Northern and Central parts)": The manuscript report, INOC Library, Baghdad. (1971).

Al-Qayim B. "Sedimentary Facies Anatomy of Khurmala Formation, Northern iraq": Iraqi Geological Jurnal, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 36-46. (1995).

Al-Banna Y.N., Al-Mutwali M.M. and Al-Ghrear S.J. "Facies Analysis and Depositional Environment of Khurmala Formation in Bekhair Anticline –Dohuk Area, North Iraq": Iraqi Jour. Earth Sci., Vol.6, No.2, pp.13-22. (2006). DOI:

Al-Lihaibi, F.S. "Diagenesis of Khurmala Formation in Dokan Area, North Eastern Iraq": Iraqi National Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 17-34. (2012). DOI:

Salih M.L.A. "Sedimentology of Sinjar and Khurmala Formations (Paleocene-Lower Eocene) in Northern Iraq": Thesis, 215pp. University of Baghdad, College of Science, Department of Geology. (2013).

Karim H.K. "Facies Changes Between Kolosh and Sinjar Formations Along Zagros Fold–Thrust Belt in Iraqi Kurdistan Region": Journal of Geography and Geology; Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1-13. (2016). DOI:

Karim, H.K, Daoud, S.H. and Kuradawy, R.H.A. "Record of Khurmala Formation (Late Paleocene – Early Eocene) in the Sulaimaniah Governorate, Kurdistan Region, Northeast Iraq": Iraqi Geological Journal Vol.51, No.1, pp. 34-55. (2018). DOI:

Asaad, Sh.I. and Balaky, M.S. "Microfacies Analysis and Depositional Environment of Khurmala Formation (Paleocene – Lower Eocene), in the Zenta Village, Aqra District, Kurdistan Region, Iraq": Journal of Iraqi Bulletinof Geology and Mining , Vol.14, No.2, pp. 1-15. (2018).

Al-Qayim, B. Omer, A. and Koyi, H. "Tectonostratigraphic overview of the Zagros Suture Zone, Kurdistan Region, Northeast Iraq": GeoArabia, V. 17, no. 4, pp. 109-156, Gulf PetroLink, Bahrain. (2012). DOI:

Ma’ala, Kh.A. "Geological Map of Sulaimaniyah Quadrangle, at scale of 1: 250 000": Iraq Geological Survey (GEOSURV) Publications, Baghdad, Iraq. (2007).

Dunham R.J. "Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional texture": Mem. Amer. Ass. Petrol. Geol.l, 108-121,7 Pls., Tulsa. (1962).

Embry A.F, Klovan E.J. "Absolute water depths limits of Late Devonian paleoecological zones": Geologische Rundschau. Vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 672-686. (1972). DOI:

Kirmaci Z.M. and Akdag K. "Origin of dolomite in the Late Cretaceous–Paleocene limestone turbidites, Eastern Pontides, Turkey": Sedimentary Geology. Vol. 181, pp. 39-57. (2005). DOI:

Mehmood M., Yaseen M., Ullah Khan E. and Jehangir Khan M. "Dolomite and dolomitization model - a short review": International Journal of Hydrology. Vol. 2, No. 5, pp. 549-553. (2018). DOI:

Wang G., Li P., Hao F., Zou H. and Yu X. "Dolomitization process and its implications for porosity development in dolostones: A case study from the Lower Triassic Feixianguan Formation, Jiannan area, Eastern Sichuan Basin, China": Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. Vol. 131, pp. 184–199. (2015). DOI:

Flügel, E. "Microfacies of Carbonate Rocks. Analysis, Interpretation and Application": p. 976. Springer, New York. (2004). DOI:

Arzaghi S. and Afghah M. "Diagenetic Aspects of the Lower Paleocene Sachun Formation Carbonates, Zagros Basin, Southwestern Iran": Journal of Earth Science, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 884–894. (2014). DOI:

Buxton T.M and Sibley D.F "Pressure solution in a shallow buried limestone": Journal of Sedimentary Research. Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 19-26. (1981). DOI:

Koehn D., Rood M. P., Beaudoin N., Chung P., Bons P. D and Gomez-Rivas E. "A New Stylolite Classification Scheme to Estimate Compaction and Local Permeability Variations": Sedimentary geology, Vol. 346, pp. 60-71. (2016). DOI:

Catincuţ C., Michetiuc M. and Bucur I.I. "Microfacies and Microfossils of the Upper Tithonian–Lower Berriasian Calcareous Klippes from Ampoiţa (West of Alba Iulia, Romania)": Acta Palaeontologica Romaniae. Vol. , pp. 77-86. (2011).

Habibi T. and Bover-Arnal T. "Larger Foraminiferal Biostratigraphy and Facies Analysis of the Oligocene–Miocene Asmari Formation in the Western Fars Sub-basin, Zagros Mountains, Iran": Acta Geologica Sinica, Vol. 92, No. 6, pp. 2079-2097. (2018).

Baceta, J.I., Pujalte, V., Bernaola, G. "Paleocene coralgal reefs of thewestern Pyrenean basin, northern Spain: newevidence supporting an earliest Paleogene recovery of reefal systems": Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Vol. 224, pp. 117–143. (2005). DOI:

Abedpour, M., Afghah M., Ahmadi V., and Dehghanian M. "Microfacies, Sequence stratigraphy, Facies analysis and Sedimentary environment of Neocomian in Kuh-e-Siah section (Arsenjan area, SW of Iran)": Iranian Journal of Earth Sciences. Vol. 10, pp.142-157. (2018).

Shakeri A., Douraghinejad J. and Moradpour M. "Microfacies and sedimentary environments of the late Oligoceneearly Miocene Qom Formation of the Gooreh Berenji region (Jandaq area, central Iran)": GeoArabia, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 41-60. (2007). DOI:

Shirazi M. P. N., Nezhad M. D. and Ghalavand H. "Microfacies and sedimentary environment of the Oligo-Miocene sequence (Asmari Formation) in Khuzestan sub- basin, Zagros Basin, southwest Iran": International Research Journal of Geology and Mining (IRJGM) (2276-6618) Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 016-024. (2012).

Scheibner C., Rasser M.W. and Mutti M. "The Campo section (Pyrenees, Spain) revisited: Implications for changing benthic carbonate assemblages across the Paleocene–Eocene boundary": Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Vol. 248, pp. 145–168. (2007). DOI:

Zamagni J., Mutti M. and Košir A. "Evolution of shallow benthic communities during the Late Paleocene–earliest Eocene transition in the Northern Tethys (SW Slovenia)": Facies. Vol. 54, pp. 25–43. (2008). DOI:

Ghosh A. K. and Sarkar S. "Facies analysis and paleoenvironmental interpretation of Piacenzian carbonate deposits from the Guitar Formation of Car Nicobar Island, India": Geoscience Frontiers. Vol. 4, pp. 755-764. (2013). DOI:

Sahraeyan M., Mohammad B. and Arzaghi S. "Facies analysis and depositional environments of the OligoceneeMiocene Asmari Formation, Zagros Basin, Iran": Geoscience Frontiers. Vol. 5, pp. 103-112. (2014). DOI:

Waśkowska1 A., Cieszkowski M., Golonka J. and Kowal-Kasprzyk J. "Paleocene sedimentary record of ridge geodynamics in Outer Carpathian basins (Subsilesian Unit)": Geologica Carpathica, 65, 1, p. 35-54. (2014). DOI:

Surdashy M.A. "Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction by Calcareous Algae at Paleocene-Early Eocene in North-East Iraq": Journal of Zankoy Sulaimani (JZS), Part A. Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 101-116. (2001). DOI:

Hagn, H., Butt A., and Malz H. "Paleocene shallow-water facies at Emperor Seamounts: DSDP Leg 55, northwest Pacific": Init. Rep. DSDP 55, pp. 327-345. (1980). DOI:

Flügel, E. "Microfacies of Carbonate Rocks. Analysis, Interpretation and Application": Second Edition, pp. 1006. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. (2010). DOI:



How to Cite

Khurmala Formation (Late Paleocene-Early Eocene) in Halabja area, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. (2020). Journal of Zankoy Sulaimani - Part A, 22(1), 307-320.