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Title of article :
The role of salt weathering in the origin of the Qattara Depression, Western Desert, Egypt
Author/Authors :
Aref، نويسنده , , M.A.M. and El-Khoriby، نويسنده , , E. and Hamdan، نويسنده , , M.A.، نويسنده ,
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روزنامه با شماره پیاپی سال 2002
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Abstract :
Field studies and petrographic examinations of core samples and of the bedrock of the floor of the Qattara Depression, Egypt, indicate that salt weathering predominates in its western part in marked contrast to its eastern part. The eastern part of the depression is covered with more than 120-cm-thick, moist sands with sporadic occurrence of halite and gypsum due to the low salinity of the groundwater table. At the western part of the depression, the strongly saline, sodium chloride nature of the groundwater table favors crystallization of halite (and sometimes gypsum) at or near the surface of the outcropping bedrock of the Moghra clastics and/or Dabaa shale. Crystallization of halite and/or gypsum generates increased pressure that leads to mechanical disintegration of the bedrock into fine-grained debris. Features related to disintegration include blistering of the rock surface, splitting, spalling and/or granular disintegration. ation of dry and wet cycles favor halite crystallization, mechanical disintegration of the outcropping bedrock and dissolution of the halite cement, which exposes fine-grained debris to wind deflation. Removal of the debris from the floor of the depression leads to the accumulation of lunettes and other dunes in the downwind direction. ore, salt weathering provides fine-grained debris that are easily removed by deflation, which accounts for the topographically lower level of the western part of the depression (134 m below sea level (b.s.l.)). In contrast, the presence of moist sediments at the eastern part of the depression inhibits deflation and encourages sedimentation by adhesion of wind-blown sand to the damp surface of the sabkha at an elevation of 45 m below sea level. sintegration of the bedrock of the Qattara Depression by salt weathering has been in effect since the onset of aridity in northern Egypt in Quaternary time. Whereas the initial excavation of the depression started in Late Miocene or Pliocene time by fluvial erosion, karstic process, mass-wasting and wind deflation.
Keywords :
Halite , disintegration , Qattara Depression , EGYPT , crystallization , excavation
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