Isfir Al-Mahata: A Newly Discovered Subsurface Oil Shale Deposit in Southern Jordan

Hani Alnawafleh, Khaled Tarawneh, Ali Ghannam, Lutfi Abu-Sa’ad


This is the first study focuses on the characteristics of newly discovered subsurface oil shale deposit in Isfir Al-Mahata Area in the southern part of Jordan. This area considered as one of the promising oil shale resources that are located in the southern region. This study aims through mineralogical and geochemical analyses to shed light on the characteristics of this potential resource. Oil shale is described as bituminous chalk marl phosphatic rich at the bottom. A total of 115 meters of oil shale were penetrated and recorded. Oil content is about 6% in the first 80 meters and increases to 11% in the remaining part. Petrography indicates that the oil shale of this borehole is foraminiferal wackestone changes to grainstone in the lowermost part. Amorphous organic matter is filling foram’s cavities and dispersed within the mineral matrix. The later consists mainly of calcite with minor amounts of quartz, clay and apatite. With exception of the lower most part, major and minor elements oxides reveals minor variation indicate stagnant formational conditions. High terrestrial input contribution is expected.

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)  Email:

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