Karst Rock Relief of Qara and White Desert (Western Desert of Egypt)


  • Martin Knez Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Karst Research Institute, Slovenia
  • Tadej Slabe Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Karst Research Institute, Slovenia
  • Magdy Torab Damanhour University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography, Abadia, Egypt
  • Noura Fayad Damanhour University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography, El Beheira, Egypt




carbonate rock, rock relief, complexometry, QaraOasis, White Desert (Farafra), Egypt


The karst rock relief clearly reveals the ways in which the karst surface and caves have been shaped and how they have developed. The oldest traces are the rock features of old karst caves, which were formed under climate conditions entirely different from the current ones, i.e., in the Pleistocene, and which have been dry for a longer period of time. Today, the wind is the prevailing factor in shaping the rock on the surface and in the karst of the White Desert near Farafra in particular, where we can witness the development of an entire range of wind rock features which helps us sort and classify them logically. However, in the wadis near the Qara Oasis a unique rock relief is forming, in which traces of water flow and dissolution of the rock under the sandy deposits are utterly predominant. The rainfall volume is low, however, the heavy rainfall events lasting short periods of time are enough to shape the less resistant rock. The rock features dominating the walls are co-shaped by dissolution and aeolian erosion. Crust forms on those parts of the rock surface that come in contact with water. The bare surfaces, on the other hand, are carved out by the wind. In the places where the crust has flaked off, the wind carves out cups.


Download data is not yet available.


Al Farraj Al Ketbi, A., Slabe, T., Knez, M., Gabrovšek, F., Mulec, J., Petrič, M., Zupan

Hajna, N., 2014. Karst in Ras Al-Khaimah, northern United Arab Emirates. Acta carsologica, 43(1): 23-41.

Audra, P., Bosák, P., Gázquez, F., Cailhol, D., Skála, R., Lisá, L., Jonášová, Š., Frumkin, A.,

Knez, M., Slabe, T., Zupan Hajna, N., Al Farraj Al Ketbi, A., 2017. Bat urea-derived minerals in arid environment: first identification of allantoin, C4H6N4O3, in Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave, United Arab Emirates. International journal of speleology, 46(1): 81-92.

Catuneanu, O., Khalifa, M.A., Wanas, H.A., 2006. Sequence stratigraphy of the Lower

Cenomanian Baharia Formation, Baharia Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt. Sedimentary Geology, 190: 121-137.

Coy H. Squires, C., 1986. Geological map of Egypt, NH 35 SW Siwa, 1:500.000. The

Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Cairo.

Coy H. Squires, C., 1987. Geological map of Egypt, Ng 35 NE Farafra, 1:500.000. The

Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Cairo.

El Aref, M.M., Hammed, M., Salama, A., 2017. Geomorphological Classification and

Zonation of the Surface Karst Landforms of Bahariya-Farafra Region Western Desert, Egypt. International Journal of Science and Research V 6, I 5: 956-965.

El Awady, M.A.M., Abd-Elwahed, A.G., Garamoon, H.K., El Malky, M.G., 2018.

Geochemical Assessment of the Quaternary Soil in Siwa Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 43(2): 25-45.

El Marsafawy, S., Bakr, N., Elbana, T., El Ramady, H., 2019. Climate. https://www.

researchgate.net/publication/327141448.DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-95516-2_5

El Sisi, Z., Hassouba, M., Oldani, M.J., Dolson, J.C., 2002. Ancient Oil, New Energy.

International Conference and Exhibition, Field Trip No. 8. British Petrol, Shell, Cairo, 66 p.

Engelhardt, W., Füchtbauer, H., Müller, G.,1964. Sediment-Petrologie, Methoden der

Sediment-Untersuchung, Teil 1.- E. Schweizerbart´sche Verlagsbuchhandlung

(Nägele u. Obermiller), pp. 303, Stuttgart. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/


Evamy, B.D., Sherman, D.J., 1962. The application of chemical staining techniques to the

study of diagenesis of limestones. Proc. Geol. Soc. London, 1599, 102-103.

Farouk, S., City, N., Abdel Ghany Khalifa, M., El Kom, S., 2010. Facies tracts and sequence

development of the Middle Eocene – Middle Miocene successions of the southwestern Qattara Depression, northern Western Desert, Egypt Freiberger Forschungshefte, C 536(18): 195-215.

Gindy, A.R., El Askary, M.A., 1969. Stratigraphy, structure, and origin of the Siwa Depression, Western Desert of Egypt. AAPG Bull, 53: 603-625.

Google Maps, 2023. Map.- [Online] Available from: https://www.google.com/maps/place/

Cara,+%D9%82%D8%B3%D9%85+%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%AF%D9%89+%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%89%D8%8C+Matrouh+Governorate,+Egipt%E2%80%AD/@29.5975752,26.4774076,11087m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m6!3m5!1s0x14645414fff33539:0xd1966d35fa59d060!8m2!3d29.6057611!4d26.5019976!16s%2Fm%2F0gttcbl?entry=ttu [Accessed June 15th, 2023].

Hermina, M., 1990. The surroundings of Kharga, Dakhla and Farafra oases. In: Said, R.

(Ed.), The Geology of Egypt. Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Cairo,

pp. 259-292.



Issawi, B., 1972. Review of Upper Cretaceous-Lower Tertiary stratigraphy in central and

southern Egypt. Bulletin American Association Petroleum Geologists, 56:1448-1463.

Khalil, M., Elharairey, M., Atta, E., Aboelkhair, H., 2021. Evaluation of salts in salt pans, Siwa Oasis, Egypt Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 14(770) 2-11.


Munsell Rock-Color Chart, 2009. Geological Rock-Color Chart. Munsell Color, Grand

Rapids, MI, USA.

Plyusnina, E.E., Emad S., Sallam, D., Ruban, A., 2016. Geological heritage of the

Bahariya and Farafra oases, the central Western Desert, Egypt. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 116: 151-159.

Said, R., 1990. The geology of Egypt. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, 734 pp.

Slaughter, B.H., Thurmond, J.T., 1974. A lower cenomanian (Cretaceous) Ichthyofauna

from the bahariya formation of Egypt. Annals of the Geological Survey of Egypt, 4: 25-40.

Stromer, E., 1936. Ergebnisse der Forschungsreisen Prof. E. Stromers in den Wusten

Agyptens. VII. Bahariya Kessel und Stufe mit deren Fauna und flora. Eine

erganzende usamenfassung. Abhandl. Konig. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. Math. Phys. Kl.

(3): 259-292.

Thabet, M.A., Abdel Hady, A.A., Abd El Kawy, W.A.M., EL-Nahry, A.H., 2013. Study of

land resources at Siwa oasis using remote sensing and GIS techniques. Journal of Soil Sciences and Agricultural Engineering, 4(8): 757-773.

Zaki, A., Abdel-Fattah, M., Kora, A., Salah, N.A., 2013. Facies architecture and depositional

development of Middle Miocene carbonate strata at Siwa Oasis, Northwestern Egypt. Facies. International Journal of Paleontology, Sedimentology and Geology, 59: 505–528. DOI 10.1007/s10347-012-0332-2




How to Cite

Knez, M., Slabe, T., Torab, M., & Fayad, N. (2023). Karst Rock Relief of Qara and White Desert (Western Desert of Egypt). Acta Carsologica, 52(2-3). https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v52i2-3.12796



Original papers