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Paleokarst shafts in the western desert of Egypt: A unique landscape

Ashraf Mostafa

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v42i1.631

Abstract

Paleokarst shafts in the western desert of Egypt: A unique landscapeThe Eocene limestone plateau of the Western Desert of Egypt has various karst features, including shafts created during ancient wet periods. These Paleokarst shafts have been investigated on the plateau to the west of the Nile valley, specifically northwest of Assiut. Most of these shafts are infilled by conglomerate (cemented flint, red soil and limestone chips) and appear as pockets in limestone hills. The morphology of the shafts and the characteristics of their infillings suggest that they developed in vadose zone at the base of epikarst limits. This stage probably took place from the end of Early Eocene to the Middle Miocene. A later, different stage of water erosion occurred, most probably during Pliocene/Pleistocene period. This stage led to remove the epikarst zone, and reshaped the area to create a hilly landscape penetrated by infilled shafts.Keywords: Egypt, the Western Desert, karst, shafts, epikarst.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v42i1.631

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